No social crisis – rather the riots that rocked Paris earlier this week were caused by delinquents. That is the opinion of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who said he did not agree with people who say social problems were the root cause of the violence in the capital’s suburbs. He told a meeting of police officers: “Use every means available – technical, scientific, human, information. Those who shoot at the police must be held to account.”
An uneasy calm held in the Val d’Oise region north of Paris, the epicentre of rioting earlier this week. Large numbers of riot police stood by and a helicopter circled overhead. The violence was sparked by the deaths of two youths of North African origin whose motorbike collided with a police car on Sunday. An amateur video filmed immediately after the accident showed the officers’ vehicle was wrecked in the collision itself, rather than by vandals afterwards, as a police report had claimed, suggesting it had been travelling at speed.