French police arrested 16 youths Wednesday following a train invasion near the impoverished Parisian suburb of Grigny in which dozens of passengers were robbed. The local mayor said the attack “discredited the silent majority” who live in the area.
French police on Wednesday arrested 16 youths, aged between 14 and 18, after the hold-up of a suburban train near Paris earlier in March.
They are suspected of having boarded the train en masse in the run-down Grigny suburb on March 16, stopping the train by setting off the alarm, and going through the carriages robbing frightened passengers systematically of their mobile phones, cash and handbags.
After the hold-up of the train, which connects the suburb to Paris, the estimated 20 youths jumped off and disappeared before the police arrived.
Police on Wednesday said that stolen items had been recovered during dawn raids at one of Grigny’s huge housing estates, and that some of the youths arrested are suspected of having taken part in two similar robberies.
“What they did was not only serious but completely stupid,” Grigny’s Communist mayor Philippe Rio told AFP. “All they will do is increase the discrimination that already exists against people from Grigny. They discredit the silent majority of residents who just want to live their lives in peace.”
“Grigny might not be Care Bears territory but it isn’t the Wild West either,” he added.
The incident on the RER D train line, which carries some 550,000 passengers a day, has been taken up by the centre-right opposition as proof of mounting lawlessness in some sections of French society.
But transport officials stress that the greater Paris suburban train network is at least as safe as those of similar cities around the world.
No one was hurt in the three robberies which triggered Wednesday's arrests.
(FRANCE24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-03-27