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Sartrouville, photo supplied

Sartrouville: Tension mounts after closure of Islamic prayer room

The city of Des Indes was the scene of violent clashes last week, during the night between Monday and Tuesday. The migrant-filled housing estate is located in Sartrouville, in the north-western suburbs of Paris.

Published: June 10, 2018, 3:58 pm

    A series of fires and clashes with police broke out in the night between Monday and Tuesday in the district of Des Indes, Sartrouville. It all started around midnight on Rue Esnault Pelterie, when firefighters intervened to stop a fire in front of a building, Le Parisien reported.

    Upon arrival, the fire engine and the police car that accompanied it were pelted with rocks. The result of this first episode was moderate: no one was injured, but the window of the gatekeeper’s lodge was broken. The police intervened and drove the group of attackers away.

    Not much later, on Rue Lakamal, two groups attacked the premises of the property-owner Logement Francilien. A CCTV camera recorded the attack. Fires in trash containers were lit simultaneously on the Avenue de l’Europe and at the marketplace. Three windows of the property-owner’s building were broken with hammers. The police found and secured this tool and a mop soaked in gasoline, which had been abandoned at the site. The camera survived the fire set at the foot of the pole.

    The police responded by using 43 stun grenades, and fired flash-bang shots to disperse troublemakers during this encounter.

    These events occurred a few hours after the expulsion of the association which manages the Islamic prayer room of Des Indes, ordered by the court to leave the premises that belonged to Logement Francilien. The head office of the public-housing landlord in Chatou was subjected to an intrusion ten days ago and an attempted arson that ended in blackened walls.

    Although no formal link has been established between these various incidents, but the coincidence between the violence targeting several institutions and the property of the landlord and the closing of the Islamic prayer room, is striking.

    According to Frédéric Landon, the lawyer for the president of the Muslim Association of Des Indes, his client has “nothing to do” with this series of fires. Stressing that this is “a man of great moral probity,” Landon said that he has filed a complaint in a civil suit against the former prefect of Yvelines Serge Morvan, who had given several orders to close the prayer room on the grounds, inter alia, that the president of the association was in contact with a terrorist.

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