Officers responding to calls from concerned locals were confronted by “small hostile groups armed with iron bars and stones” shouting “It’s war!” according to French news outlet DNA.
Around 8:30 pm, local residents alerted the police, sensing that things were getting out of hand. Young migrants had gathered and wanted to fight the police.
When a patrol arrived at the corner of Nathan-Katz Lane and the Rue de la Navigation, the officers were ambushed by a hostile group armed with iron bars and stones, shouting: “It’s war! ”
Caught in this ambush, the officials asked for reinforcements, which had to be summoned from Mulhouse, Colmar and Saint-Louis. The police also requested air support from the Gendarmerie helicopter equipped with a powerful projector and cameras.
On the roofs of buildings, paving stones, sewer lids were spotted. Migrants had been throwning cobblestones and manhole covers from rooftops at law enforcement down in the street according to reports.
The clashes lasted a good part of the evening and the police repeatedly used tear gas and rubber bullets to drive back the assaillants. Calm returned at around 3 am and an investigation is underway to try to identify the troublemakers.
Rubbish bins were set alight and a car was destroyed during street battles. The wreckage and the burned bins were quickly removed, but the skirmishes continued.
Up to 50 migrant youths battled the Gendarmerie, which is the militarised branch of France’s law enforcement. It took an intervention of the departmental section of intervention (SDI) to bring the street violence under control.
“This morning, there was nothing visible in the neighborhood of Drouot. Yet, the night was long and agitated,” regional daily La Alsace reported.
There have been no arrests made and no injuries reported.
Mass youth violence broke out last week, after an “ultra-violent brawl” numbering 50 people in the Paris suburb of Garges-lès-Gonesse saw a white teenager seriously injured shortly after a shooting in the migrant-populated district.