Violence

Police reinforcements sent to city of Lyon after third night of street violence

Police officers patrol in a street following riots and after several cars have been set on fire in the Parilly neighbourhood in Bron, near the city of Lyon, central eastern France, 6 March 2021.
Police officers patrol in a street following riots and after several cars have been set on fire in the Parilly neighbourhood in Bron, near the city of Lyon, central eastern France, 6 March 2021. AFP - OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE

Police units have been sent from Paris to reinforce security in the south eastern city of Lyon after three consecutive nights of violent street clashes between law enforcement officers and groups of young locals.

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Three suburban areas of the south eastern city have seen clashes between the police and young people over the past three consecutive nights.

Twenty-one arrests, mostly of minors, have been made, five of them in relation to violence on Saturday evening.

Three policemen were confronted by 30 attackers following a routine visit to a youth shelter in the district of Bron. The officers were obliged to abandon their vehicle and take refuge inside the shelter. A police car was badly damaged.

A police video shows 15 young people smashing the doors, windshield and bonnet of the car. An investigation has been launched.

French interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced that "a third mobile police unit" would be sent to the Lyon suburbs.

More than 200 police officers were deployed on Sunday to "enforce Republican" law, he added. 

Rival versions of the events in Bron suggest that violence broke out after a young man was injured in a fall during clashes with the police.

On Thursday, violence was centred in the Duchère area. A 13-year-old was seriously injured in a fall from a scooter while being pursued by a police vehicle, according to local press reports. The police deny that version of events.

The incident is being investigated by the police supervisory body, the IGPN.

Friday night saw clashes in Rilieux-la-Pape where cars were burnt and urban property vandalised.

Police action against local drug barons

According to the mayor of Bron, Jérémie Bréaud of the right-wing Les Républicans party, the violence has been provoked by recent police action directed against local drug dealers.

Jérémie Bréaud is himself accompanied by a police bodyguard following a series of threats against him.

The suburbs of Lyon have been the scene of a series of violent clashes with the police as primary targets notably in 2005 and 2015.

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