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17.02.2017 15:28 News >> French Minister Vows To Bring Police 'Closer' To Public

French Minister Vows To Bring Police 'Closer' To Public

Despite French government claims unrest in some Paris suburbs has been petering out, the country's interior minister had to again call for calm on Friday.

"There are always tensions and that is why I want to bring the police closer to the people," Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux told French broadcaster France 2.

Tensions in the capital's suburbs have simmered for days over the alleged rape of a young black man by police during an ID check.

Le Roux said on Thursday the situation in Seine-Saint-Denis department -- a northeast suburb of Paris -- is "almost back to normal" after more than 12 nights of violent rioting which erupted in the wake of the "Theo affair".

However, a rally by 200 people in Bobigny, near Aulnay-sous-Bois where the alleged assault took place, turned violent on Thursday afternoon. Police used tear gas to disperse several dozen people who threw stones at them.

At least 266 people have been arrested since the outbreak of the riots on Feb. 4. Of 48 suspects charged, 14 have been jailed, according to police.

Four police officers linked to the violent arrest of a 22-year-old man identified only as Theo have been charged with crimes, including rape and assault. One officer has been charged with rape while the others face charges of voluntary aggravated violence.

Le Roux has suspended the four police officers.

The unrest which started in several Paris suburbs, quickly spread to Lille, Marseille and other French cities, carrying echoes of riots that rocked the country in 2005 over the deaths of Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17 -- electrocuted in a power substation after being chased by police in Clichy-sous-Bois. -



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