Violence has once again broken out in France tonight in response to the alleged rape of a 22-year-old man by police in Paris, with cars set alight and ‘missiles’ thrown at officers in riot gear.
A 16-year-old boy saved a young girl from a burning car moments after it had been firebombed by rioters in Paris protesting at the alleged rape of a man by police officers.
The incident happened in the northern suburb of Bobigny, near Aulnay-sous-Bois shortly after dark last night.
According to local police, 2,000 youths took to the streets before the car with the young girl inside was attacked.
Protesters set alight the car containing the young girl amid violent scenes last night
Police in riot gear have come under attack from protesters in Bobigny, near Paris, tonight after a peaceful demonstration over the alleged rape of a 22-year-old man earlier this month
It is the latest bout of violence and destruction near the capital, pictured, with police patrols previously attacked earlier in the week
The girl was dragged from the burning car by Emmanuel Toula who was passing the scene yesterday evening.
He told Bondy Blog: ‘I pulled this little girl out of the car. I am not a hero.’
He said he saw the small city car pull up when it was surrounded by a group of youths wearing hoods.
The hooligans gathered up rubbish and set fire to it in front of the car. He said the woman driving jumped out and took her young son with her.
‘At that moment, I approached the car and I saw a little girl. She was terrorised. I was afraid because I imagined the car could explode at any moment. I have four little brothers and two little sisters and I though I could not leave a little girl like that.
‘Nobody did anything. I said to myeself and I had to take my courage in both hands. I went back into the car. I opened the door. My hands were trembling. The girl was in the back. She did not cry, but she was also shocked. I tried to remove her belt, my hands arms, still trembling. Then I took her in my arms and I tried to run. I started to pick up speed and I felt the tear gas. Deafening grenades fell two metres from us.
According to a police statement, around 2,000 people took to the streets last night outside the Bobigny Court House before the violence struck
The protest in the northern suburb of Bobigny near Aulnay-sous-Bois was peaceful at the start but groups of demonstrators later clashed with police and went on the rampage, attacking cars, shops and public property.
Crowds have also been pictured entering vandalised supermarkets and taking goods, pictured
Officers have been quick to respond to the violence and have been stopping traffic in the area
Several vehicles were torched and bus shelters and shopfronts smashed in Bobigny and neighbouring areas.
The police accused ‘several hundred’ individuals of various ‘acts of violence and damage’.
The rioting capped a week of nightly clashes in the northern Paris suburb over the treatment of Theo, who claims a police officer sodomised him with his baton after a stop-and-search check in a housing estate.
Around 50 people have been detained since the protests began.
One officer has been charged with rape over the affair, and three others with assault. All four have been suspended from their duties.
Theo’s case has revived long-simmering frustrations over policing in immigrant communities, where young men accuse the police of repeatedly targeting them in aggressive stop-and-search operations and using excessive force during arrests.
Officers have responded by firing tear gas at the protesters, pictured
Windows have been shattered, pictured, as police continue to stand guard in the area
The police for their part complain of being drawn into a cat-and-mouse game with delinquents and drug dealers operating out of housing estates.
In 2005, the death of two teenagers who were electrocuted while hiding from police in an electricity substation sparked weeks of riots in France.
Some of the demonstrators in Bobigny on Saturday carried placards reading ‘Police rape’ and ‘Police kill innocent people’.
Small rallies took place in other French cities, including Rouen in the north, Nantes in the west and Toulouse in the south-west.
Theo is still in hospital where he was operated for severe injuries to the anus and rectal area. He was declared unfit to work for two months.
An internal police investigation found insufficient evidence to support allegations that he was raped and said the injuries were not inflicted intentionally.
The criminal probe is, however, ongoing.
Cars have also been smashed by demonstrators, pictured, despite the victim calling for ‘calm’ during the investigation
Last Monday 17 people were arrested after rioting, which saw a nursery school and a car showroom set alight.
In a neighboring suburb, 28 people were detained for ‘throwing objects, lighting fires and violence’.
In northwestern France, in Nantes, 20 people were arrested during a demonstration of about 400 people in support of the victim.
He has urged people to stay calm while the investigation took place telling residents of Aulnay ‘not to go to war’.
After his visit, the French President tweeted that the victim had ‘reacted with dignity and responsibility’, and trusted that justice would be served.
He is understood to have been at his bedside for around half an hour.