MONTFERMEIL, France – Youths torched a dozen cars and hurled stones at police in a second night of violence in the troubled Paris suburbs, raising memories of rioting that rocked the nation last year.
Six police officers suffered light injuries and 13 people were detained in the violence Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, police said.
It did not appear to reach the scale of the first overnight clashes Monday night, in which bands of young people hurled gasoline bombs at public buildings and took to the streets with baseball bats. Then, police said nine officers were wounded and that they fired rubber pellets to disperse the roughly 100 youths.
The tensions are a stark reminder of the anger that smolders in depressed French suburbs, despite new government efforts to tackle high youth unemployment and racial inequalities following the three weeks of similar — but far worse — rioting last fall.
One of the young men briefly detained Tuesday night for throwing stones at police was also involved in the incident that sparked last year's riots. He was injured and two other youths were killed — all electrocuted — as they hid from police in a power substation.
Dozens of vans carrying riot officers were stationed Tuesday night in Montfermeil, 10 miles east of Paris, and in the nearby suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, the flashpoint of last year's rioting. A helicopter surveilled the area.
About 15 young people hurled projectiles at police in Clichy-sous-Bois, and a group of 30 threw rocks at a police station in Montfermeil, police said.
A firebomb was thrown inside a police vehicle, setting it ablaze. Officers inside barely had time to get out, and one was hospitalized but his injuries were not serious.
About 12 cars were torched before calm was restored around 1:30 a.m., police said. At the height of last year's riots, more than 1,000 cars were torched in one night. Even in times of relative calm, torching cars is a regular occurrence in the troubled suburbs.
The trigger of this week's unrest was the arrest Monday of a suspect in the beating of a bus driver earlier this month, the Montfermeil mayor's office said.
The head of the opposition Socialist party, Francois Hollande, accused outspoken Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday of doing "nothing to calm" the violence — and of fueling it through hostile statements toward suburban youth.
"We have the painful sense that nothing has been fixed" since the riots of last year, Hollande said on France-2 television.
Many of those who rioted then were of immigrant origin, laying bare decades of discrimination and France's failure to integrate immigrants and provide opportunities for impoverished youth.
Tension in Montfermeil has remained high since the mayor last month banned teenagers from circulating in groups of more than three, and ordered youths under 16 to be accompanied by an adult in public. A court later overturned the bans after protests from civil liberties groups.