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Scenes of police intervention, Grenoble. YouTube

Riots erupt in Grenoble after two migrants crash during police chase

Vehicles were burned during the night from Sunday to Monday in the French city of Grenoble, after two migrant youths died on a scooter on Saturday while being followed by the police.

Published: March 4, 2019, 10:20 am


    Tensions between migrant youths and law enforcement continued on Sunday, March 3 until the evening. As reported by BFMTV, a new night of clashes took place from Sunday to Monday in the city Paul Mistral of Grenoble after the death of two young men on Saturday.

    After colliding with a bus, the two individuals, aged 17 and 19, were followed by the police. A judicial inquiry was opened to determine under what circumstances they had died.

    Riots broke out on Sunday evening in immigrant area, leading the authorities to call a “Codis crisis” for large-scale interventions. Some 55 firefighters were mobilized to extinguish 14 vehicle fires.

    Violence had already erupted in the same neighborhood on the night of Saturday to Sunday, with Molotov cocktails being thrown at CRS barracks. Police responded with tear gas and LBDs. Cars, garbage cans and street furniture were burned, as was the hall of a nursing school and local associations.

    According to the first reports, the two deceased persons were traveling without helmets, their scooter was a stolen one and did not have license plates. CCTV footage is being used and investigators have heard from the bus driver.

    He claims to have cut off the scooter to the right when he saw the two being chased by the police car. At the same time, the two fugitives tried to overtake him on the right and were caught between his vehicle and the parapet. According to the prosecutor, CCTV footage only shows the scene “rather vaguely”.

    For the prosecution however, the intervention of the police was “totally justified”. They would not have been followed by law enforcement “if they had not put other road users in danger, by crossing red lights, driving on the sidewalk, driving at high speed”, an official explained.

    At a press conference, the public prosecutor Eric Vaillant dismissed speculation on the cause of their deaths, because of the investigation “which is just beginning”. He added: “I am not targeting any offense committed by one or the other.”

    On Sunday evening, Vaillant received the “fathers, uncles and a sister of two youths” and spoke to them for over an hour.

    Despite the calls for calm by the ecologist Mayor of the city Éric Piolle, new incidents were still being reported, said firefighters.

    In 2010, after the shooting of a suspected migrant armed robber who was killed by police, violence shook the southeastern French city.

    The killing of Karim Boudouda (27), during a shootout which followed a casino robbery resulted in three nights of rioting in the suburb of Villeneuve, where police were fired at and dozens of cars were torched.

    The Socialist Party blamed “belligerent language” in strict security policies aimed at curbing migrant violence at the time. The centre-right government had sacked the prefect for Isère, the department that includes Grenoble, and replaced him with a senior police officer.

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