Six held over violence in France after police check veiled woman
PARIS (Reuters) – Six people were arrested after overnight violence that erupted in a Paris suburb after police checked the identity of a woman wearing a Muslim veil, French authorities said on Saturday. Public disturbances have shaken depressed, largely immigrant quarters of major French cities at regular intervals for years, often triggered by resentment over spot police checks. It is illegal in France for women to wear full face veils in public but the law is contested in the mainly Muslim suburbs that ring major cities – where tensions reign in relations between residents and police.
In Trappes, a gritty suburb southwest of Paris, police said a crowd gathered in response to the arrest on Thursday of a man who had assaulted a police officer during an identity check on his wife, who was entirely veiled. Some 250 people who collected outside the Trappes police station on Friday night threw stones and other projectiles and destroyed property before being repelled by riot police in the early hours of Saturday, a police statement said.
A witness said the crowd called on police to release the husband but were “insulted” by authorities. “They (the police) didn’t want to listen and it got out of control,” the man, who gave his name as Sofiane, told iTele. “Trappes is a big family. When you attack us we’re going to respond.” Police said order was restored by daybreak in Trappes, an area of grim housing estates, but that reinforcements sent in overnight would remain in coming hours to help ensure calm.
Authorities dealing with immigrant unrest fear a repeat of riots in 2005, France’s worst for 40 years, when nationwide violence led to the imposition of a state of emergency. In Trappes, as cleanup crews cleared away shattered glass from bus shelters, burned trash bins and stones littering the pavement, the chief administrator of the department (county) of Yvelines described the suburb as “calm and serene.” “We will maintain this calm in the coming hours,” Prefect Erard Corbin de Mangoux told journalists. “Police will stay put until we believe the threat is over.”
Six enforcers held over China fruit vendor death: media
BEIJING — Six Chinese local government employees involved in a dispute that saw a roadside watermelon seller die have been detained, state media reported Friday as outrage over power abuses mounted. Deng Zhengjia, 56, was beaten to death Wednesday by local regulation enforcers known as ‘chengguan’ for selling watermelons at a street stall without a licence, Chinese media reported previously.
The officials in Linwu county, in the central province of Hunan, kicked and punched Deng and one used a metal measuring weight to smash his head, the reports said, citing his wife. He had recently moved his stall in accordance with instructions from chengguan and paid 100 yuan ($16) in fines, she said. The county government held a press conference Thursday, said the Beijing News, after the news sparked an outpouring of online anger. Six chengguan “involved in the matter” had been taken into police custody, county officials said, according to the report.
They said preliminary investigations showed the enforcers did not smash Deng’s head with the weight and a postmortem was being conducted. A news portal linked to the county government said he suddenly fell to the ground and died during a row. Authorities denied reports police forcibly removed the body from the scene, saying it was taken away following a request by his relatives and out of “respect for the death”. Chengguan, who are tasked with enforcing non-criminal regulations in towns and cities, have long been accused of abusing their powers, with street vendors a common target of violence.
They “have earned a reputation for brutality and impunity… They are now synonymous for many Chinese citizens with physical violence, illegal detention, and theft,” a spokeswoman for advocacy group Human Rights Watch said last year. Chinese Internet users poured scorn on the officials’ accounts, with one describing them as “shameless liars”, and the county government’s website was hacked on Friday. “To the county chief who (ordered) the snatch of the body: the wages of sin are death,” read a message on the site, according to a screen grab by the semi-official China News Service. The website was inaccessible Friday afternoon.
Man sets off bomb at Beijing airport, state media report
BEIJING — A man in a wheelchair with apparent grievances against authorities set off a homemade bomb at Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday night, according to Chinese state media, injuring only himself but shocking travelers and sending authorities scrambling. State-run China Central Television reported on its Web site that the man tried to distribute fliers about his grievances at the scene but was stopped. He then detonated a bomb made of black powder normally used in firecrackers, CCTV said. The man, whom police identified as Ji Zhongxing, born in 1979 and from the city of Heze in Shandong province, was then taken to a hospital, according to CCTV.
Apparent witnesses posting pictures of the incident online said the man in the wheelchair had warned them to stand back before the explosion. “It was pretty powerful. You could feel it in your chest,” said Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt of the International Crisis Group think tank, who was in the terminal during the blast. “There was dust, smoke, people running away, police, people running in to take pictures.”
Arrests made as youths rampage in San Bernardino
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – Police say a mob of young people smashed windows and threw rocks and bottles in San Bernardino, resulting in at least six arrests. Police are trying to determine whether Thursday night’s civil unrest was arranged through social media contacts and whether it was sparked by the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Police say some youths indicated there was no connection.
Lt. Mike Madden says about 100 people threw rocks and bottles at cars and at arriving officers. When the group was ordered to disperse, some took off running and began attacking and robbing pedestrians. Madden says two were held on suspicion of robbery.On Wednesday night, a similar mob robbed people in Hollywood. More than a dozen arrests were made.
Threat of ‘bash mob’ attack puts police on alert
Police across Southern California were on a alert this weekend for more “bash mob” attacks. A bash mobs is a large group of people who suddenly descend on a neighborhood, roaming the streets, vandalizing property and committing theft and petty crimes.
They are sometimes organized by social media. There were incidents this week in Hollywood and the Inland Empire. There were rumors of one occurring Friday in Long Beach, but it failed to materialize. “We are very cognizant of monitoring the rest of the city for any potential flash mobs, and we have additional resources in place to respond quickly and aggressively,” said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.
“We will aggressively go after anybody who participates in this kind of illegal activity.” To explain the department’s response after a roving group of vandals appeared in Hollywood earlier this week, Neiman turned to terms every Southern Californian would understand. “Whenever we have these types of incidents we jump on them right away, and try to extinguish them, kind of like a brush fire,” he said.
“If there’s little spot fires flaring up, we jump on it immediately so it doesn’t spread.” A bash mob incident took place in Long Beach on July 9, when more than 100 people raced through downtown in a sudden crime rampage organized in part through social media sites. Law enforcement officials investigating that incident found out about another planned attack, scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday.
Rally by wing of Turkey’s PKK ends with street clashes
ANKARA, Turkey, July 20 (UPI) — Turkish police used water canon to break up a demonstration by a wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the Syrian border, officials said Saturday. About 50 members of the PKK responded by attacking a police vehicle with a Molotov cocktail amid skirmishes that lasted about an hour, the report said.
There was no immediate word on injuries or arrests. The clash took place in the southeastern province of Sirnak Cizre. The rally was in support of Kurdish fighters in Syria who have been battling a jihadist faction amid Syria’s ongoing rebellion. The demonstrators were part of the PKK’s Patriot and Revolutionary Youth Movement, which the Dogan News Agency called a militant youth and public order cadre of the PKK.
Protests against U.S.-Afghanistan security pact turn violent
CHEGHCHARAN, Afghanistan, July 20 (UPI) — At least three people were wounded in Western Afghanistan when police fired on demonstrators protesting a U.S.-Afghan security agreement, officials said. Dozens of people showed up for the protest Friday in Cheghcharan city, Ghor province, Khaama Press reported.
Syed Fazal-ul-Haq Ehsan, the council chief for Ghor province, said the protest turned violent when police arrived to disperse the crowd. Protesters threw rocks at the provincial government compound and burned three camps at the entrance gate of a provincial reconstruction team led by Lithuanian forces, Ehsan said. At least three people were injured when police opened fire on the protesters, Ehsan said.