Tuesday, March 27, 2007






The ongoing riots in Paris seem to have spread from the outlying "suburbs" (read slums) to Paris proper:

PARIS - Riot police firing tear gas and brandishing batons clashed Tuesday with bands of youths who shattered windows and looted shops at a major Paris train station, and officials said seven people were arrested.

Officers and police dogs charged at groups of marauding youths, some of them wearing hoods, who mingled with commuters and travelers at the Gare du Nord — one of Paris' most important transport hubs.

Some of the youths threw trash cans and other objects at the officers, who responded by firing tear gas.

One woman was evacuated by paramedics for inhalation of tear gas.

The clashes began in midafternoon, and forced the closure of the station's subway and commuter lines for several hours. The station's long-distance rail hub and Eurostar terminal, which is attached to the subway station, remained open throughout.

They started after a man without a Metro ticket punched two inspectors during a routine ticket check, said officials from Paris' RATP public transport authority. Youths also attacked the inspectors and later turned on police patrolling the station, officials said.

"The inspectors were hit with projectiles, as were the officers who came to assist them," said Luc Poignant, an official for the Force Ouvriere police union.

A standoff ensued between officers and some 100 youths.