Riot cops are deployed in Paris as youths set cars on fire

Riot cops are deployed in Paris as youths on poor housing estates set cars on fire amid anger over death of teenage motorcyclist blamed on police

  • Riot police were deployed in force to suburbs including Argenteuil and Bezons   
  • Tensions rose after the death of Sabri Choubi, 18, in a motorcycle accident 
  • Victim’s associates alleged police responsible for death, investigation is ongoing
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Riot police were deployed in force as youths set cars ablaze in some low-income housing estates in the Paris suburbs overnight, amid tensions heightened by the coronavirus lockdown.

The latest unrest in the banlieues – high-rise, low-income neighbourhoods – flared after an 18-year old died last weekend in a motorbike accident in the suburb of Argenteuil, northwestern Paris.

An investigation into the death of Sabri Choubi was ongoing, said the prosecutor’s department for the district of Pontoise, which handles judicial matters for Argenteuil. 

It added that initial findings did not show Choubi’s motorcycle had been in a collision with a police car, as some of the victim’s associates had alleged.

Officials at the Paris police department could not be immediately reached for comment on the unrest overnight, but the AnonymeCitoyen twitter feed and residents in the suburb of Argenteuil posted videos and photographs of burnt out cars and riot police in the area.

Residents in the nearby suburb of Bezons also posted videos on Twitter of a large fire, though it was unclear what was burning. 

A video captured in the Bezons neighbourhood and shared by a Twitter user by the name of ‘le copilote’ reads ‘Starfullah (sic)’, may god forgive in Arabic, as cars are set alight

France’s banlieues are frequently flashpoints of anger over social and economic inequality and allegations of heavy-handed policing.

In one video a group of hooded youths can be seen setting off fireworks in the Bezons neighbourhood before setting cars alight and leaving them to burn – another fire can be seen to have spread to a nearby tree. 

A caption on the video shared by a Twitter user by the name of ‘le copilote’ reads ‘Starfullah (sic)’, may god forgive in Arabic. 

The video shows the fire engulfing the car and spreading to a nearby tree as other cars are in close proximity

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