French Police Storm Housing Projects

1,000 cops bust 33 for riots in raid on immigrant communities
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2008 5:03 AM CST
French Police Storm Housing Projects
Masked police patrol the streets as a helicopter uses a spotlight overhead in the nothern Paris suburb Villiers-le-Bel Tuesday evening, Nov. 27, 2007. France's government vowed to fight with all its might against armed bands of rioters who rampaged in Paris suburbs, torching cars and buildings and,...   (Associated Press)

More than 1,000 French police stormed housing projects in three largely immigrant communities outside of Paris early today and arrested 33 suspects believed linked to riots in November, AP reports. Police sources said two gang leaders in particular organized the street violence that included armed rioters in what they described as a "quasi-military operation."

Some 130 police were injured in the riots, which erupted after two teens on a motorbike died in a collision with a police car. Most of those arrested were between the ages of 19 and 31, officials said. French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier this month announced a new program to integrate suburban youth into French society and battle racism they face in the job market. In riots two years ago, he infamously described participants as racaille, or "trash." (Read more France stories.)

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