As France has put stringent measures in place to limit movement in the country in a bid to fend off the spread of the coronavirus infection, low income neighbourhoods, adjacent to the capital city of Paris, have seen a spike in violence this week, prompted by discontent among local youths with the tactics employed by the police.
The unrest that swept the Paris suburbs this week is unlikely to instigate a major flareup on the scale of the 2005 riots, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told BFM TV.
“We are not in this sort of scenario”, he told the broadcaster.
The riots in question refer to a wave of civil unrest episodes that rocked the outskirts of Paris in October and November 2005, sparked by discontent among youths with what they perceived as police harassment in underpriviledged neighbourhoods. The tensions led to massive arrests, damage to property, and the death of several civilians.
France has seen an uptick in violence in the suburbs of Paris this week after a 30-year-old man sustained a critical injury in the Villeneuve-la-Garenne neighbourhood following a collision with an unmarked police car. This incident angered locals who condemned the police tactics as mistreatment of ethnic minorities during the lockdown.
France imposed a lockdown on 17 March to contain the coronavirus pandemic that has so far infected 116,151 and killed 20,763 in the country, according to data provided by the World Health Organisation as of 9:00 a.m. CEST.