Police have made 9 arrests in the Tarterets estate after two cops were ambushed and badly beaten there last week.
The police are widely hated by France’s urban poor for their brutal and often racist repression – they tend to beat banlieu (suburb) kids rather than arrest them. The fear of this caused 17 year-old Zyed Benna and 15 year-old Bouna Traore to run and hide from police in an electricity substation in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois in October last year. They were electrocuted and their deaths sparked weeks of rioting that spread across the country and saw targeted attacks on state property and agents from armed ambushes of police to arson attacks on schools.
Then, the Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy called the rioters "scum", and now he has vowed to track down "one by one" those who ambushed two cops in the Tarterets estate in Corbeil-Essonnes, just south of Paris, last Wednesday. In the ambush, a police car was hit with a volley of rocks, and when the driver went to investigate he was ambushed and badly beaten, as was the other cop with him who came to his aid. One of the officers received a fractured skull. Police unions condemned the attack.
Todays invasion of the estate by 200 riot police sparked clashes with bottles and stones thrown at the police. For all his zero-tolerance rhetoric Sarkozy’s tough policies have actually overseen a rise in violent crime.