Some 40 rioters in a Paris suburb have hurled Molotov cocktails at police and firefighters and torched cars in a rampage prompted by the death of a teen pizza deliverer fleeing police.
The interior minister called for calm after the overnight violence.
One person fired at police with a handgun in the rioting in a housing project in Bagnolet, on Paris’ eastern edge, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in a statement. No injuries were reported.
The latest eruption of tensions in France’s suburbs broke out after an 18-year-old riding his motorcycle through the project tried to flee a document check by police, according to a police official.
The man, who worked as a pizza deliverer, lost control of the vehicle and hit a barrier, and died en route to the hospital, the official said. The official was not authorised to be publicly named because of police policy.
Later, about 40 young people in the neighbourhood responded to the death by hurling Molotov cocktails and projectiles at police and emergency workers on the scene, Hortefeux’s office said in a statement.
The rioters set fire to 29 cars and smashed windows of a high school and store, the statement said. One person was detained and order was restored after police reinforcements arrived.
Hortefeux called for calm and insisted that “all light will be shed” on the cause of the young man’s death.
The internal police watchdog agency is also investigating the incident. The police official said there was no contact between the police car and the motorcycle.
Tensions between young people and police have long simmered in housing projects in France’s suburbs, feeding on poverty, unemployment and anger over discrimination against minorities. The suburbs erupted in 2005 in riots, largely by young Arab and black men of immigrant backgrounds, after two teens were electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police.