Posted on November 7, 2019

Anti-Police Violence Surges in the Tough Suburbs of Paris

John Leicester, AP News, November 5, 2019

A resurgence of anti-police violence has emerged in the long-troubled towns around Paris, signs that lawlessness still simmers in French urban hotspots that exploded in three weeks of rioting in 2005.

Violence on Saturday night in Chanteloup-les-Vignes and recent flare-ups in other tough neighborhoods west of Paris have not matched the intensity or destructiveness of the unrest that spread to hundreds of towns in 2005. But French authorities are alarmed because the violence appears pre-planned, with ambushes deliberately set to target police.

Police union officials suspect that rival gangs from different tough neighborhoods are competing for bragging rights in their attacks and are reveling in the media coverage they’re generating, even egging each other on in social media.

In Chanteloup-les-Vignes, hooded attackers hid in bushes, waiting to spring their trap. When police arrived, responding to calls about a fire, they pounced. Under cover of darkness, roaming youths showered officers with projectiles and powerful fireworks that filled the night skies with sparks and thundering explosions.


Maj. William Blanchet, who represents the Unite SGP police union in the Yvelines region that includes Chanteloup and other towns where police patrols have been assaulted, said the youths involved seem to be targeting officers for their own amusement.


Police were lured to Chanteloup by calls that a trash bin had been set ablaze. Callers also reported seeing hooded youths filing bags with stones. Police union officials said about 30 youths, some armed with batons, joined the rampage. Police made two arrests.

{snip} A video on Snapchat showed thunderous firework explosions echoing around Chanteloup, the images overlaid with the words, “The city is ours” and “anti-police here.”


Police union officials say the youths may have been emboldened by the yellow vest economic protest movement that shook the French government in the past year, viewing repeated violent clashes between anti-government demonstrators and riot police as a cue for them to similarly wreak havoc and challenge authority.