French Interior Minister: probe underway into recent violent unrest in Paris suburb

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin leaves following the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

PARIS, March 29 (Reuters) - A probe has been launched into recent violent unrest in the Paris suburb of Sevran, said French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday, during which police came under attack from youths.

The trouble in Sevran comes with the French presidential election less than two weeks away, in which fears over violent crime, racial tensions and terrorism will feature high among voters' concerns. read more

"An inquiry is underway concerning the intervention of police last Saturday afternoon in Sevran. Following violence and acts of vandalism, 16 arrests were made during the weekend and police apprehended 13 people yesterday evening," said Darmanin on his Twitter account.

Stephane Blanchet, who is the mayor for Sevran which lies to the north-east of Paris, wrote on his Twitter account that trouble had first broken out during the weekend after a local man, aged 33, died after being shot by police.

French media reports said the police had opened fire on him after chasing him on suspicion of having stolen a vehicle.

Images posted on social media showed youths clashing with police during the weekend and into the start of this week.

France's 'banlieues' - high-rise housing estates on the outskirts of major cities - have long been flashpoints of anger over social and economic grievances. In 2005, unrest lasted three weeks after two youths died fleeing police in another northern Paris suburb.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten

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