Paris: Bus attacks continue in Paris suburb

Paris: Bus attacks continue in Paris suburb

See also: Sarkozy promises action after bus attack in Paris suburbs and Sarkozy promises 'war without mercy' for Paris suburbs

For the fourth time in just over a month, a bus was targeted by thrown objects in a Paris suburb in Seine-Saint-Denis.  The drivers again decided to exercise their right to quit working.

A bus of the Courriers d'Ile-de-France (CIF) company, carrying a dozen passengers, was again targeted in Tremblay-en-France (Seine-Saint-Denis) Saturday, causing drivers to use their right to quit and to cease work, according to a union source.  Four cars were also burned.

The driver of the bus which was attacked says that the bus, which connects Vert Galant (Villepinte) to the Roissy airport, was attacked at 5:05PM, in the Merisiers housing estate, by about 40 masked people, who first tried to stop the bus and then threw objects.

The driver says that when they saw he wasn't stopping, they tried to throw a stone through the windshield, then they launched several objects, maybe also firing rubber bullets.  He told the passengers to get down, he says, still visible in shock.  He added that several cars were on fire in the area, and that they probably wanted to do the same to the bus.

This is the fourth time in just over a month that a bus has been targeted in Tremblay-en-France, each time causing the CIF drivers to stop work.

On March 31st, a bus was partially burned down and stones thrown at another a housing estate after a major anti-drug police operation.  Minister of the Interior Brice Hortefeux announced special security measures, notably the mobilization of 80 police agents to escort the buses from Tremblay.  Nicolas Sarkozy promised for his part to do everything to find the perpetrators.  But on April 12th another bus was attacked.  Two days later, three buses were again targeted in this town in Seine-Saint-Denis.

In a surprise visit to Tremblay on April 20th, the head of state promised 'absolute firmness' against the insecurity, saying that the 'Republic will not retreat a millimeter'.  "Your routes will be secured," he told the drivers of the buses which had been attacked, and promised that every bus would have a direct line to the police, so that they could locate the buses without delay.

Explaining that the bus was not escorted by the police, union officer Djamel Ben Kissaou stressed that the police were dispersed almost everywhere in the Tremblay-Villepinte zone, and that they intervened in case of an incident.  Saturday, he said, the police agents could do nothing.

Wajid Ben Abdelmalek, employee representative, says that they were already discussing recovering some of the old routes that had been diverted, and to reduce the extra forces, hoping to return to normal gradually.  It is impossible and it is the bus customers who pay the consequences.

Djamel Ben Kissaou, union officer for the CIF, says that the employees are despondent and dismayed.  They no longer know where to turn.  The situation is still tense.  They're all overwhelmed, including the management.

Source: Le Figaro (French)

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