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Paris suburb simmers after youth allegedly raped by police

AFP archive | The police station in Aulnay-sous-Bois where the four policemen were questioned over the alleged rape.

A Paris suburb has been subjected to two nights of violence, including burned cars and fireworks aimed at police, following the alleged rape of a young man by police during a violent arrest on Thursday.

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The 22-year-old was allegedly raped during arrest after an ID check in Aulnay-sous-Bois to the northeast of Paris escalated on Thursday.

The incident, which was captured by police surveillance cameras, showed a police officer deliver a horizontal blow with his baton to the buttocks of the young man after his trousers “dropped by themselves”, the source said.

The young man said the police anally raped him with the baton.

The young man was taken to a hospital and examined by a doctor who said he had suffered “a longitudinal wound in the anal canal” and “a section of the sphincter muscle”, according to the source.

On Saturday the young man was still in hospital, having been granted a 60-day medical leave.

Initially, four officers were charged with rape, although investigators said Monday they were only pursuing one of them for sexual offences, and the other three for violence.

All four officers have been suspended pending investigation.

Wave of violence

The incident has sparked a wave of violence in the sprawling Aulnay-sous-Bois suburb, known as the “3,000 people estate”.

On Saturday night, one car was torched, bus shelters smashed and the suburb was thrown into darkness after street lighting was knocked out.

Police reinforcements including CRS riot squads were dispatched to Aulnay-sous-Bois on Sunday, where several cars had been set on fire. Five people were arrested.

Stéphane Troussel, head of the Seine-Saint-Denis local authority that includes Aulnay-sous-Bois, said the image of the police “and the French Republic had been damaged and it is urgent to turn things around”.

“Even if the vast majority of police officers do their jobs correctly, too many arrests turn into nightmares for some young people,” he said in a statement.

Dominique Sopo, head of the SOS Racisme NGO, added: “People living in working class housing estates should not be considered as second-class citizens, they need to be treated with a more respect.”

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