BOBIGNY, France (Reuters) — Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday defended his tough crime policies against claims they helped increase tension after a fourth night of rioting in a Paris suburb in which tear gas was fired into a mosque.
It was not clear who had fired the tear gas and Sarkozy, addressing police officers, vowed to find out what had happened.
Youths hurled rocks and set fire to cars in the northeastern Clichy-sous-Bois suburb of the French capital, where many immigrants and poor families live in high-rise housing estates notorious for youth violence.
French television said six police officers were hurt and 11 people arrested in violence partly fueled by the incident at the mosque.
“I am, of course, available to the Imam of the Clichy mosque to let him have all the details in order to understand how and why a tear gas bomb was sent into this mosque,” Sarkozy told about 170 police officers at the Seine-Saint-Denis prefecture in Bobigny, the local authority which oversees Clichy-sous-Bois.
He also met the president of the Muslim community for the Clichy area.
The violence began four days ago among residents of Clichy-sous-Bois over the deaths of two teenagers believed to be of African origin who were electrocuted while fleeing police.