Violence In Cergy
On Sunday June 17, the day of the second round of voting in the legislative elections, fierce urban violence broke out in the town of Cergy, department of Val-d'Oise. These events went largely unreported by the MSM. Le Salon Beige linked to the following article in Le Monde, here abridged:
In a situation almost comparable to "urban guerilla warfare" the police used rubber bullets 46 times and 25 tear gas grenades to disperse the crowd and protect municipal employees and other police personnel. "The whole gamut of anti-riot weapons was used," said a union source. Some 120 police were mobilized that night in the city, including CRS (riot police).
The first incidents began Sunday night around 9:00 p.m. during a rap concert attended by 10,000 people from all over Ile-de-France for the fourth "International Festival of Urban Cultures". Dozens, some say hundreds, of people from rival gangs began fighting near the scene. A brief YouTube video shows youth wearing hoods, armed with bats and throwing bottles at another group near the spectators of the festival. The settling of accounts among gangs has increased lately in Cergy and surroundings...
The socialist deputy mayor Joël Motyl explained: "We were warned by the residents that armed and hooded gangs were coming onto the scene. Then about 30 thugs began attacking 30 other thugs." He said he saw people with iron bars, shovel handles and even an axe and a gun. Another witness, Youssef Kabouche, one of the festival organizers, also said he saw an axe and knives and heard shots...
The 20 or so city police and the 50 guards from a private firm, hired for the occasion, were soon overwhelmed. The organizers of the festival (which was free and did not require security checks at the entrance, something the police have been critical of) decided to terminate the concert and to request police re-enforcements. "Everything got visibly worse after the concert was canceled," said the prefect of Val-d'Oise, Christian Leyrit.
Groups of youth headed for the train station where they destroyed phone booths and billboards. Businesses in the station were targeted. Stocks of merchandise, fixtures and glass windows were destroyed as were ticket machines and ticket booths. The trains stopped running for 45 minutes.
One police source said the gangs tried to attack the police, wounding two officers slightly. Another account spoke of anti-police and anti-Sarkozy slogans.
None of the demonstrators was seriously wounded. Eight arrests were made, but lack of evidence resulted in 6 of them being released. The other two were immediately convicted, one to ten months in prison for vandalism, the other to three years for torching a police car.
The police and the municipal authorities criticize the organization of the festival and the appearance of "hard" rap groups. The mayor accuses the police of not providing sufficient protection. "We feel as if we were abandoned by the police. There were between 40,000 and 45,000 participants over a period of three days... and only a few dozen police were there the night of the concert, compared to hundreds that are mobilized for a soccer match." He said the CRS re-enforcements took 40 minutes to get there after getting lost somewhere in Cergy.
The police administration declined to respond to the accusations.