Rioters torched cars, looted shops and shot at police in the French Alpine city of Grenoble Saturday after police shot dead a man who allegedly held up a nearby casino the night before.
The riots began around midnight in the Villeneuve suburb of Grenoble, after a memorial to 27-year-old Karim Boudouda, the alleged robber, who was a Villeneuve resident.
The violence flared when police tried to intervene in the attack of a streetcar held up by brushfire, police spokeswoman Brigette Julien told the AFP news agency. A group of about 30 youths had attacked the tram with baseball bats and iron bars, forcing out passengers.
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After police arrived, the youths began burning cars, setting between 50 and 60 vehicles ablaze. Gunfire ensued, with police returning fire four times.
No one was injured in the riots, according to police, who arrested two men aged 18 and 20 for burning cars and three others for attempting to loot shops.
"This is Beirut. I swear, it's Beirut!" exclaims one Villeneuve resident at the sight of police cars passing with sirens blaring. In the night sky a police helicopter passes above the buildings, with lights and infrared to film the crowd. The riot police try to circle elusive small groups of youth who are breaking everything in their path. A dozen of them, some with their faces masked with a while T-shirt, destroy two bus-stops with baseball bats.
"The youths told me: You killed one of ours. In any case, you're a dirty race, we'll kill you too," a policeman deployed to Villeneuve says, confirming the hatred against the police expressed by many local youth. "Anybody European, we'll shoot down," he says he's heard.
Local residents of all ages, elderly and children, took to the streets to watch the violence, and to express their anger. Passing the riot police, one elderly woman shouts: "Go home!".
"The cops, when you need them, they're never there, zero. And when you don't need them, they come. All of this is because of them," says a young woman in a blue djellaba, who took to the street late at night, while the police were shooting flash-balls in the air to disperse the groups.
"All the mothers, they came and they saw the bodies on the ground. What does it all mean. The children are shocked. The cops are dogs," adds a woman in thirties wearing the full veil.
A group in their sixties laments: "The youth are messing around. they have nothing in their heads. We don't need another death, it serves nothing," one of them throws out.
Source: TF1 (French)
Update via Daily Mail:
Locals accused armed officers of overreacting by gunning down Boudouda, allegedly as he tried to give himself up.
A Grenoble police spokesman said: ‘There has been a very fierce reaction. As mourners gathered in a park to hear Muslim prayers for the dead man late on Friday night, trouble broke out. By Saturday morning tear gas was being used on the youths.
At about 2.30am a handgun was used to fire shots at the police. A youth was arrested, which seemed to make matters worse. The trouble went on until morning.’