France braces for riots as protests turn violent
By John Lichfield
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
A menacing new spectre hung over the French pension reform dispute yesterday – the threat of a re-run of the multi-racial suburban riots of five years ago.
As petrol shortages spread and the country braced for a new day of strikes and marches today, there were violent incidents and clashes between police and youths in a dozen cities and suburbs around France.
Although the incidents occurred on the fringes of demonstrations by Lycée (sixth-form) students, most of the violence came from roaming groups of hooded youths who were not directly involved in the protests against pension reform. Cars were turned over or burned and shops looted and smashed in Nanterre, west of Paris, and in Saint Denis, north of the capital, which was the starting point of the riots of October and November 2005.