2007 Villiers-le-Bel riots

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2007 Villiers-le-Bel riots
Date November 26 - 29, 2007
Location Villiers-le-Bel, Val-d'Oise, France (incidents occurred elsewhere in France)
Caused by Death of two teenagers in collision with police vehicle
Methods rioting, arson, shooting, assault
Parties to the civil conflict
Injuries 130+
Arrested 39

Riots in the Val-d'Oise department in France began 26 November 2007, following the deaths of two teenagers (Moushin S., 15, and Larami S., 16),[1][2] whose motorcycle collided with a police vehicle.[3] The circumstances recalled those that precipitated the 2005 unrest, which began in Clichy-sous-Bois when two teenagers lost their lives as they evaded arrest while hiding in an electrical substation.

Motorcycle accident[edit]

The unrest began when the minibike, on which the youths were riding, collided with a police vehicle.[3] The families of the youths allege that police rammed the motorcycle and left the two teenagers for dead.[4] The police deny this, saying that the motorcycle was stolen[5][6] and was an unregistered vehicle not valid for street use, travelling at high speed, and that the youths were not wearing any protective headgear - an account, according to French newspaper reports, confirmed by two eyewitnesses.[2] A police investigation indicated that the motorcycle was in third (top) gear and that the police car was not going over 40 km/h (25 mph).[2]

Riots and government response[edit]

Immediately after the incident, a hostile crowd[2] formed around the spot of the road accident. Divisional Commissioner Jean-François Illy, in charge of Sarcelles area, had his car burned and was hit with iron bars as he was trying to defuse the situation, and was hospitalised with a fractured nose and ribs.[2] However, the scene of the accident was kept untouched by the crowd .[7][8]

Over 130 policemen were injured during night-time riots and violent clashes, which began in Villiers-le-Bel in the Val-d'Oise department.[3][9] Over 70 cars and buildings were burned, including a library, two schools, a police station, and several shops.[3] According to Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie, several police officers were hit by shotgun pellets. One officer received a serious shoulder wound when a firearm projectile pierced his body armour and another lost an eye.[9][1] including six seriously wounded officers "who notably were struck in the face and close to the eyes."[1] One police officer said that thirty officers had been hit by shotgun pellets, and one hit by a "bullet used to kill large game." He likened the situation to a "guerrilla war".[10]

At least ten cars were burned and a fire broke out at a library in Reynerie, a suburb of the southern city of Toulouse.[11] Eight rioters were arrested by the police on the night of 27 November.[12][13]

On 28 November, President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was in China during the events, met Prime Minister François Fillon, Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie, and Justice Minister Rachida Dati for a security briefing.[14] The authorities decided not to give detailed account of the riots;[15] however, they announced that 39 people were arrested the night before.

On 29 November, French suburbs stayed relatively calm after 1,000 riot police were deployed. There was no report of injuries.[16]


An investigation has been opened against the rioters. Another has been opened concerning the accident.[17] On 18 February 2008, 33 people were arrested, suspected of being rioters.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Violence worsens in volatile Paris suburb". International Herald Tribune. 27 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Les premiers éléments semblent exonérer les policiers". Le Figaro. 27 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Dozens injured in Paris rampage". BBC News. 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 28 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  4. ^ "Paris rioters 'criminals' says PM". BBC News. 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 29 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  5. ^ "Paris suburb riots after deaths of two teens in crash". Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2007. 
  6. ^ Riots break out in Paris suburbs
  7. ^ Villiers-le-Bel: les récits del'accident
  8. ^ Echauffourées à Villiers-le-Bel après la mort de deux adolescents "Des habitants ont monté la garde autour des véhicules en début de soirée pour contribuer à l'enquête."
  9. ^ a b France stunned by rioters’ savagery, 2 December 2007
  10. ^ "Paris suburb riots called 'a lot worse' than in 2005". International Herald Tribune. 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  11. ^ "Sarkozy holds riot crisis talks". BBC News. 28 November 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "Au cœur des émeutes dans le Val d'Oise", AFP
  13. ^ "Violences à Villiers-le-Bel : huit jeunes écroués", AFP
  14. ^ "Sarkozy to hold security meeting". France 24. 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  15. ^ Sarkozy reprend la main après deux nuits de violences en banlieue
  16. ^ Paris calm as riot police deployed
  17. ^ Emeutes de Villiers-le-Bel: la police offre une récompense aux témoins
  18. ^ "Vaste opération de police à Villiers-le-Bel, la médiatisation critiquée". Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2008.