ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Amiens-Nord : le calme revient après une nuit de violence.
Translated Thursday 16 August 2012, by Derek Hansonand reviewed by
In the night of Aug. 13-14, clashes occurred between about a hundred young people and the police. The outcome of this night of urban guerilla warfare is sixteen injured policemen and serious material damage.
About 100 young people gathered in the North Amiens neighborhood – one of the fifteen priority security zones targeted by the government – and began, on the evening of Aug. 13 at around 9 p.m., “to harass the police who had come to securitize the neighborhood after the clashes of the evening of Aug. 12” according to the prefecture of the Somme département. Sixteen policemen were injured by buckshot, roman candle fireworks, and the throwing of objects. The most seriously injured policeman was put on sick leave for two weeks, the prefecture said.
“I’ve been demanding means for months because tension has been mounting in the neighborhood.”
The mayor of Amiens, Gilles Demailly (Socialist Party) draws a picture of a “scene of desolation,” with “burnt cars and rubbish bins everywhere,” and also of public buildings struck “for the first time,” including a completely-trashed and partly-burnt-down kindergarten and a totally destroyed sports center. “There are regularly incidents here, but I haven’t known such a violent night with so much vandalism for years,” Mr. Demailly stated to Agence France Presse. “I’ve been demanding means for months because tension has been mounting in the neighborhood,” the mayor added.
Was an excessive police check the starting point for these clashes? In any case, that is what is stated by the family and friends of a 20-year-old man who died on Aug. 9 in a motorcycle accident, who were gathered nearby for a mourning ceremony when the police intervention occurred. They say they were “indisposed by the tear gas and judge the police action as excessive in view of the circumstances.”
The prefecture of the Somme département indicated in a communiqué that “following that intervention, a hostile crowd formed; reinforcements had to be sent to the spot and the police had to make use of tear gas and flashball guns to break the encirclement.” The prefecture stated that it has opened an administrative enquiry “in order precisely to establish the chronology of events and the role that each party played.” Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls will go to Amiens in the early afternoon of August 14.