French interior minister says violence in Paris suburbs unlikely to spread

File photo of French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner
File photo of French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner ALAIN JOCARD POOL/AFP

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Thursday that he did not think that this week's outbreak of violent clashes in French housing estates would result in scenes similar to the 2005 riots that broke out throughout the country.


"We are not in this sort of scenario," Castaner told BFM TV.

Stringent restrictions on public movements ordered by President Emmanuel Macron to tackle the coronavirus have exacerbated tensions in the low-income neighbourhoods around the capital, with clashes having broken out this week.

Castaner pointed to "the effect of the lockdown, the harshness of the lockdown for these young people".

"They are small groups who think it would be fun to attack the police force, to burn rubbish bins. It's not fun, it's dangerous to begin with for themselves".

The minister also stressed the "hardship, (...) the poverty in which they live with their relatives and which can provoke anger".  

He said the police were "systematically" intervening but that the government also had a duty to " support these young people".

Several towns, mainly in the Paris suburbs, have been experiencing tension since a biker's accident on Saturday evening in Villeneuve-la-Garenne (Hauts-de-Seine) involving the police.

Last night, according to the Paris police prefecture, "sporadic incidents" took place mainly in the Hauts-de-Seine. In total in the Paris prefecture zone, the police carried out 13 arrests, 11 of which were in the Hauts-de-Seine.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)


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