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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.

2007 Villiers-le-Bel riots
DateNovember 26 - 29, 2007
Villiers-le-Bel, Val-d'Oise, France (incidents occurred elsewhere in France)
Caused byDeath of two teenagers in collision with police vehicle
Methodsrioting, arson, shooting, assault
Parties to the civil conflict


Motorcycle accidentEdit

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 responseEdit

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 alsoEdit


  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.