The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fatal turn to relentless French riots
Man beaten to death

Grigny (France), Nov. 7 (Reuters): Rioters shot and wounded police and torched 1,400 vehicles in the worst violence since unrest erupted in France’s poor suburbs 11 days ago, and a man beaten by a youth became the first fatality today.

France’s worst violence in decades defied a vow by President Jacques Chirac to defeat the troublemakers and has grown worse daily since erupting in a Paris suburb on October 27, prompting warnings it could hit investment and tourism in France.

In the most serious incident, youths at a housing estate in Grigny, south of Paris, ambushed police with rocks, petrol bombs and guns. Two policemen were seriously hurt by pellets shot into their neck and legs.

“This is real, serious violence. It’s not like the previous nights. I am very concerned because this is mounting,” said Bernard Franio, head of police for the Essonne area south of Paris, after about 200 youths attacked his colleagues in Grigny.

A policeman at the scene held up a shotgun cartridge for cameras. Rioters fired live rounds at police and fire crews on Wednesday night, but no injuries were reported.

“There were burnt cars all over the place and helicopters circling overhead,” said Yvonne Roland, who has lived in Grigny for 25 years. “Burning cars make a big impression, the flames were really high. It made you feel like you were in a war zone.”

Hospital officials and an interior ministry spokesman said Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec had died after being beaten in another riot-hit suburb on Friday. The newspaper Le Parisien said the victim was 60 years old and had been in a coma since being attacked by a youth outside his home in the suburb of Stains.

The government has struggled to formulate a response that could halt the riots, sparked by frustration among ethnic minorities over racism, unemployment and harsh treatment by police.

The police union Action Police CFTC urged the government to impose a curfew on the riot-hit areas and call in the army to control the youths.

The violence began with the accidental electrocution of two youths fleeing from the police outside Paris and has spread to other towns and cities.

The head of the employers’ group expressed concern about the impact the unrest could have on tourism and investment in France, where sluggish growth is stifling job creation.

“France’s image has been deeply damaged,” Laurence Parisot told Europe 1 radio. Australia, Britain, Canada, Russia and the US have all urged their citizens to be careful in areas affected by the riots.

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