Dozens of cars were set on fire, as was a nursery school as unrest in the suburbs of Paris broke out in violence on the fifth night of unrest after police allegedly beat and sodomized a 22-year-old Black after arresting him.
Protesters have been angered over the treatment of the young man identified only by his first name, Theo, who was arrested in the town of Aulnay-sous-Bois. He was stopped by police, who were in the area investigating potential drug deals and asking young people for their identification papers, the U.K. Guardian reports. Theo, who has no criminal record, resisted arrest and was allegedly beaten following the incident. He was then taken to the hospital, for injuries to his rectum that were so bad they required surgery.
One police officer was charged with rape, and three others with aggravated assault, officials say. Several hundred people marched in Paris on Tuesday, demanding justice for the victim.
French president François Hollande visited Theo at his bedside and stayed with him for a half hour. According to the Hollande’s aides, the victim urged citizens to remain calm, and not to take to the streets, according to the U.K. Telegraph. It is unclear what his current condition is.
Meanwhile demonstrators have taken to the streets, in the same suburbs where in 2005, young immigrants protested an incident with police in which two people were electrocuted while hiding from them.
Since last Friday, protests and rioting have occurred nightly. At least 17 people were arrested Wednesday.
The site of the incident has remained calm as of Tuesday night, however, surrounding areas are still seeing violence. One group of young people even filled a Trolley full of gasoline bombs in an attack the Telegraph reports.”For the moment we’re talking of very violent but isolated standoffs,” said Luc Poignant of the SGP police union.
The last time similar protests occurred in France, back in 2005, then president Nicolas Sarkozy declared a state of emergency. According to The Telegraph, many young people have expressed frustration at being “humiliated by police” and that they are “constantly stopped and asked for their identity papers.”