• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Paris veil riots: Violence has been 'contained'

AFP/The Local · 22 Jul 2013, 12:50

Published: 22 Jul 2013 12:50 GMT+02:00

France's interior minister Manuel Valls visited the police station in Trappes on Monday, after a weekend of violence which saw rioting youths clash with riot police.

Valls told RTL radiio earlier on Monday that the violence had been "contained" after only minor incidents on Sunday night in Trappes and surrounding areas. Two people were arrested on Sunday.

"There have been incidents in Trappes, Guyancourt and to Montigny-le-Bretonneux, where there were two arrests. I think the situation is contained," said the minister.

On Sunday Valls vowed that security forces would remain in place "as long as necessary" until order had been restored.

Valls told French radio he would keep in place "a significant police presence until a lasting calm is restored" in and around the satellite town of Trappes, south-west of Paris.

The heightened police presence appeared to work with a lower levels of violence on Sunday evening compared to the previous two nights.

Police fears that the violence seen in Trappes would spread to neighbouring areas on Sunday evening were by and large allayed.

In the town Trappes a crowd gathered once again near the police station in the early hours of Monday morning. After a firecracker was thrown at officers riot police quickly moved in to disperse the group.

It had been a different story 24 hours earlier when police made four arrests in the region as they came under a hail of projectiles and rioters burned some 20 vehicles in Trappes and surrounding areas.

The violence began on Friday evening when some 250 youths gathered in Trappes and hurled stones at police who responded with tear gas.

A 14-year-old boy suffered a serious eye injury in the clashes and several police officers were also hurt.

The unrest was sparked by an incident on Thursday when an officer stopped a woman wearing a veil.

During this inspection, the woman's husband attacked and reportedly tried to strangle the officer, said prosecutors.

However, Muslim groups accused the police of "provocation".

France's Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) has denounced the "strong arm" action of the police, which they said was "violent and provocative".

On its website CCIF published a statement made by the woman in which she details her version of events when police pulled her aside.

The statement published in both French and English reads: "The policeman grabbed me by the head of my veil and dragged me with a dreadful strength to press me on the hood of the car, while yelling: “You’re talking to me?? You’re talking to me??”

"I turned and I saw my husband hold on the ground by two policemen who were putting him the handcuffs.

"Once in the police car, they yelled at us like we were animals. They threatened my husband:“What are you gonna do now, uh! Bastard!” with their clenched fists."

"Once we arrived at the police station, people called me “ a ghost” (because of the full-veil)."

In its statement on the website CCIF added: "We ask the police forces to fulfill their mission to protect the population, without intimidation or provocation."

Politicians blame lack of integration in France

Various  politicians from France's right wing parties have blamed the veil riots on a lack of integration and said the Socialist government has done nothing to help.

Marine Le Pen, head of France’s far right National Front party said “These kind of riots have been increasing for years, both under the UMP and Socialist governments. The French Republic has too weak a hand: due to the laxity of various governments it is losing its power struggle with the thugs, the Islamists and the ringleaders,” said 

Valls said he did not doubt "for an instant" that the police officers acted with respect towards the woman when conducting their check.

Since April 2011, France has had a ban against full facial veils, outraging many in its Muslim community.

Violations are punishable by a fine of up to 150 euros ($200) or mandatory citizenship training.

Authorities say about 300 women were caught breaking the veil law in the first year it was in force.

A similar outbreak of unrest occurred last month when authorities stopped a 25-year-old woman in Argenteuil, a suburb north-west of Paris, who was wearing
a full-face veil, or niqab.

An angry crowd gathered and police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French fuel crisis latest: 5,100 petrol stations run dry
Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Some 40 percent of petrol stations have run dry in France.

Masked youths clash with police in Paris protest
Police and protesters also clashed in Paris last week. Photo: AFP

Labour protests in Paris have turned violent, again.

A complete guide to France's (many) ongoing strikes
All photos: AFP

A rundown of all the strikes in France today and in the coming days and weeks. Good luck.

Police raid McDonald's French HQ in tax probe
Photo: _Skynet/Flickr

French police have said that they raided the French headquarters of McDonald's in a tax probe.

Euro 2016
'You're not welcome': French police warn English yobs
England football fans burn a Tunisian flag in Marseille in 1998 during riots that marred the World Cup. Photo: AFP

French police tell English fans who might be heading to France to cause trouble: Don't bother.

Paris property prices gone mad? €50,000 for 3m² 'loft'
Ile Saint Louis. Photo: AFP

A sign of how mad property prices in Paris have become?

Readers' Views
French fuel strikes:  A tedious 'tantrum' or a 'sacred' duty?
Photo: AFP

The nationwide strikes and the fuel crisis have left France divided. Here's what you have had to say.

The French fuel crisis for dummies: 27 key questions
Photo: AFP

Everything you need to know about the French fuel crisis.

Good news from France: Unemployment rate falls again
Applicants talk to recruiters at a French jobs fair. Photo: AFP

Some much needed positive news for the French government

Five free smartphone apps to help you find petrol in France
Photo: CAFNR/Flickr

Looking for petrol in France? Here's how to find it with the help of your smartphone.

National
The French fuel crisis for dummies: 27 key questions
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
A complete guide to France's (many) ongoing strikes
Culture
Paris: Street artist makes the Louvre pyramid disappear
Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Who is the French union in a 'fight to the death' with the government?
Society
Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
National
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
National
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
2,737
jobs available