Condemnation of the riot scenes at a Paris metro station has come from conservative UMP presidential candidate Nicholas Sarkozy. Rioters chanted insults against the law and order hardliner, who said this morning that “for years we have taken a too laissez-faire attitude”, whilst new Interior Minister Francois Baroin labelled the events “unacceptable, intolerable violence”.
Fighting quickly escalated at the Gare du Nord – one of Paris’ busiest stations – sparked when a 33 year old man without a ticket jumped a barrier.
Transport officials said the man punched two ticket inspectors who asked to see his ticket – but a growing crowd protest turned violent.
Witnesses feel that police used excessive force in dispersing the crowd but Sarkozy has said that the police were “doing their job”, in arresting nine people.
Shops and vending machines were broken and a fire started in scenes reminiscent of riots in autumn 2005, in which Sarkozy – then Interior minister – branded rioters ‘scum’.