Police Sweep Paris Suburb After Attack

AP, September 26, 2006

Paris—More than 200 police raided a neighborhood Monday in suburban Paris where a band of youths attacked riot police last week and seriously wounded one officer, reviving memories of the violence that raged in poor French suburbs last year.

Twelve people were detained in the early morning sweep in Corbeil-Essonnes south of the capital, the local prosecutor said.

A band of up to 30 youths armed with makeshift weapons attacked two riot police patrolling a housing project in Corbeil-Essonnes last Tuesday. One suffered a double skull fracture.

At the time, police were called in to disperse the youths but no arrests were made. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to track the perpetrators down “one by one.”

French authorities have kept a watchful eye on the low-income housing projects in suburbs nationwide where riots by youth, many unemployed and from immigrant backgrounds, erupted nearly a year ago and continued for three weeks.

The incident came amid new reports of increased violent crime in one of France’s roughest regions, Seine-Saint-Denis—the area north of Paris where last year’s riots began. Justice Minister Pascal Clement met with top crime fighters from the region and announced measures to help the area.

Former Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin welcomed the police raid but criticized Sarkozy—a leading presidential hopeful—for “playing on the legitimate emotions” of worried residents after the attack by accusing judges of being too soft on criminal youth.

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