This Friday marked the first anniversary of the deaths of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, who were electrocuted in an electricity substation while hiding from the police. Their deaths sparked off a wave of rioting across the French suburbs which left over 10000 vehicles burnt, 300 buildings destroyed, over 6000 arrests, 1328 imprisoned, 224 police/firefighters injured.
A silent march was held at ten o’clock on Friday morning and was attended by over 1000 people. The march was led by the families of the two dead boys, marching behind a banner “Zyed et Bouna, morts pour rien” (Zyed et Bouna dead for nothing). Many of the mostly young crowd were wearig t-shirts with either the names of the two boys or “morts pour rien” written on them. The march was entirely peaceful although violence was expected. Some of the parents present had forbidden their teenage sons from marching and the police were on standby. There was also a large media presence. The media have attracted heavy criticism from some quarters for fanning the flames of violence. There have also been questions raised over the independence of the media, who have accompanied the police repeatedly, notably on the massive operation is Les Mureaux after the attacks on two CRS officers. Nicolas Sarkozy has been blamed for this “ultramédiatisation” of police functions, although no one has officially admitted releasing details of police operations to the media in advance.
Friday 27th October 2006