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Riots in Grenoble after deaths of two teenagers

Firefighters in the French city of Grenoble extinguish a car set ablaze during riots sparked after the deaths of two youths fleeing police.
Firefighters in the French city of Grenoble extinguish a car set ablaze during riots sparked after the deaths of two youths fleeing police. AFP/Jean-Pierre Clatot

Security forces in the French city of Grenoble have spent a third night battling riots sparked after two teenagers died fleeing police on Saturday.

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Police said 65 cars as well as garbage cans and other public property were set on fire in neighbourhoods in the south of the eastern French city overnight Monday to Tuesday.

Two CRS riot officers were injured by projectiles and Molotov cocktails thrown from buildings and police said one suspect was arrested for throwing stones.

Officials also said one woman was hospitalised after inhaling smoke.

Previous evenings saw youths setting up barricades and the destruction of a council department building by fire.

Clashes between rioters and police resulted in a 16-year-old being injured in his eye. The youth filed a complaint and an investigation was opened.

Violence broke out Saturday evening, after two teens from the Mistral neighbourhood, aged 17 and 19, died while fleeing police on a scooter. Reports said they were riding without helmets and were mortally wounded after striking a bus.

Officials said the teenagers were known to police for petty crime, that the scooter was stolen and that it had been involved in several incidents earlier that evening, including hitting car mirrors, driving without lights and riding on the sidewalk.

The incident was officially treated as an accident, though some residents of the affected neighbourhoods said many blamed the police.

The incident and its aftermath bear echoes of nationwide riots sparked in 2005 after two youths died while fleeing police in the Paris region.

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