By John Lichfield in Paris
Published: 16 October 2006
Police had to use their firearms to escape from a gang of youths who allegedly ambushed and stoned a police car in a suburb north of Paris at the weekend - the fourth incident of its kind in recent weeks. One policeman was seriously injured by stones hurled by youths. His two colleagues fired their weapons over the heads of gang members in a housing estate in the normally calm suburb of Epinay-sur-Seine. Their patrol car was trapped when a driverless vehicle was rolled behind it by a group of up to 50 youths, according to police.The Independent
The incident is one of several serious clashes between police and youth gangs across Paris suburbs in recent weeks as the anniversary of last year's riots approaches.
Previous incidents, described as "ambushes" by the police, have later proved to be more confused and unplanned. Right-wing politicians claimed yesterday that there was a co-ordinated campaign to provoke an incident and raise tensions.
In the most recent incident, on Friday night, a police car was sent to investigate reports of muggings in the Ogrement district of Epinay, a poor area haunted by drugs gangs and sporadic violence. The police car was attacked with stones and baseball bats and one policeman, Christophe Estève, 30, was hit in the face.
Police said that the officers had been "ambushed" by up to 50 youths. Local people said that no more than 20 youths were involved, and that the incident began when the police began to interrogate forcefully two youths intercepted on the street.