Rape among the various crimes allegedly committed by French Police, sparking an uproar reminiscent of the 2005 riots around the French capital

A young black man,22, was allegedly raped by a police officer in a gritty suburb north-west of Paris last Thursday.

The victim, identified as Theo, said he was sodomised with a truncheon, as well as racially abused, spat at and beaten around his genitals. One officer has been charged with rape, and three more with assault.

The incident occurred when he found himself in the middle of a police identity check that was targeting drug dealers. He suffered severe anal injuries and has been declared unfit for work for 60 days. Theo remains in hospital after receiving emergency surgery, where he spoke to his lawyer.

Hundreds marched in support of Theo in Aulnay-sous-Bois on Monday. Reports of unrest were on the rise over the weekend which went on until Monday evening. According to these reports, a dozen cars were set on fire, rubbish bins burned and arson attempts were made on two restaurants. There were 24 arrests in total.

To many, this unrest bears some resemblance to the wide-spread riots in 2005. Abdallah Benjana, a former deputy mayor who lives in the neighbourhood, told Associated Press news agency, “”The feeling of humiliation is felt by people.”

“What are [the police officers] seeking? To provoke a spark? Isn’t there enough gunpowder in those neighbourhoods?”, he said.

A flashback to the 2005 French Riots

Clichy-sous-Bois, known as the “ghetto” suburbs of Paris, was described by a Socialist politician as “France’s most run-down estate”. The deaths of two local boys who had been running from police back in 2005 became the starting point for the worst riots in modern French history. Protests spread through high-rise estates across France, with more than 9,000 cars torched and dozens of public buildings trashed over the course of three weeks. As a result, the French government was forced to declare a state of national emergency.

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Ten years after the 2005 riots. Source: Al-Jazeera.

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