Three French cabinet ministers visited a cultural centre in the Paris suburb of Chanteloup-les-Vignes on Tuesday, which was burned at the weekend in incidents of urban violence that reflect tensions with local gangs.
The three government ministers visited the site and met with firefighters and police officers who were caught in an apparent ambush in the town some 30 kilometres west of Paris.
On Saturday evening, police officers and firefighters who had arrived to put out fires in litter bins were met with projectiles and Molotov cocktails from about 30 masked youths.
As the group clashed with the security forces, they vandalised a youth centre and set ablaze the tent of a circus school, which has been one of the city’s cultural establishments for three decades.
Calling the act “abhorrent and unacceptable”, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner promised that “justice would be done” in the town, which he visited with Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet and City and Housing Minister Julien Denormandie.
Members of the community reacted angrily to the attack and its perpetrators.
“I learned everything here,” 15 year-old Hamza told the AFP news agency at the site of the destroyed building, where she had been taking circus classes for nine years.
“They respect nothing. Their little brothers and their neighbours study circus here, but they prefer to see it burn.”…
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