Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin? (part two)

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

  • Netherlands to honour MH17 victims in national day of mourning

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Israel hits Gaza targets despite diplomatic push for ceasefire

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

France

Amiens riots spark fears of economic unrest

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-08-15

Overnight rioting in the French city of Amiens Tuesday left 16 police officers wounded, damaged a school and destroyed a sports centre. The violence has raised fears of more youth unrest as France's underprivileged face a bleak economic future.

AFP - A deprived area of the city of Amiens has been left devastated by rioting that has raised fears of a wave of unrest as the economic outlook for France's underclass worsens.

Described by the local mayor as the product of mounting social tension in an area where the rule of law has broken down, the Amiens riot cast a shadow over President Francois Hollande's celebration Tuesday of 100 days since his election victory.

Overnight violence in the historic city left 16 police officers injured, a primary school severely damaged by fire and a sports centre completely destroyed, local officials said.

Clashes involving around 100 local youths and up to 150 police erupted late Monday in the rundown northern quarter of an otherwise prosperous city that is known for its university and 13th-century Gothic cathedral.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets and deployed a helicopter to quell the unrest after suffering injuries caused by buckshot, fireworks and other projectiles thrown by rioters.

The violence followed lower-scale clashes 24 hours earlier which were triggered by the arrest of a man for dangerous driving.

The arrest was seen as insensitive as it came as many residents of the neighbourhood were attending a wake for a local 20-year-old who had died in a motorbike accident.

Gilles Demailly, the mayor of Amiens, told AFP the violent response to the incident reflected a descent into lawlessness orchestrated by ever younger troublemakers.

"There have been regular incidents here but it has been years since we've known a night as violent as this with so much damage done," the mayor said.

Demailly, a member of Hollande's Socialist Party, added: "For months I've been asking for the means (to alleviate the neighbourhood's problems) because tension has been mounting here.

"You've got gangs of youths playing at being gangsters who have turned the area into a no-go zone. You can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house."

Hollande's government has identified the northern quarter of Amiens as one of 15 "priority security zones" across the country which will be established from September.

The emphasis will be on tougher policing rather than on schemes to alleviate the impact of record unemployment and falling real incomes for the poorest sections of society.

Figures released Tuesday showed the French economy flat-lining in the second quarter of the year and most economists expect a further deterioration as Hollande's government cuts spending in most areas in order to reduce its budget deficit in line with eurozone requirements.

Trade unions battling job cuts across French industry have already warned of a "hot autumn" of protest unless the government eases up on the austerity drive.

But Hollande on Tuesday made it clear he regarded the unrest in Amiens as primarily a problem of criminality and promised a tough response.

"The state will mobilise all its means to combat these violent acts," Hollande said. "Security is not only a priority for us, it is an obligation."
 

Date created : 2012-08-14

COMMENT(S)