French youths jostle minister visiting riot scene
Youths jeered and jostled France's interior minister on Tuesday in the northern city of Amiens when he promised to restore law and order at the scene of overnight riots in which police were fired at with buckshot and pelted with missiles.
President Francois Hollande said the state would "mobilize all its resources to combat this violence", which has shaken depressed quarters of major French cities at regular intervals over the past decade.
Police and emergency officials in Amiens were on high alert on Tuesday evening and some, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they feared a further flareup of violence.
Unrest is often blamed on a combination of poor job prospects, racial discrimination, a widespread sense of alienation from mainstream society and perceived hostile policing.
A crowd of about 100 young men met Interior Minister Manuel Valls when he arrived in Amiens to discuss two nights of violence apparently sparked by tension over spot police checks on residents.
"Calm down! Calm down!" Valls yelled as the crowd jostled him while he entered the town hall surrounded by bodyguards.
Valls said 17 police officers were hurt in the rioting, some hit by shotgun pellets, others by a hail of objects thrown by around 100 youths gathered in the city's northern districts.
"Firearms! Can it be considered normal that people turn firearms on police? It's unacceptable ... law and order must be restored," Valls told a news conference, adding that a minority of people were terrorizing the local community. (...)