2020 Dijon riots

The "2020 Dijon Riots" took place in Dijon, in the French region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté for four consecutive days.

2020 Dijon riots
Bibliothèque municipale Champollion, Dijon.JPG
Grésilles, Dijon, where the riots occurred
Date11 – 17 June 2020
Caused byA Chechen attacked by North Africans
Parties to the civil conflict
Injuriesat least 10+


On June 10th, a 16-year-old Chechen boy was assaulted by French-Arab drug dealers from low-income district of Grésilles in Dijon which has a predominant population of North Africans.[1] Members of the Chechen community reportedly posted about the incident on social media and urged people to come to the city in the boys defense.[2] The incident amplified tensions between the Chechens and North Africans.[3]


In retaliation of the assault, approximately 150-200 Chechens from France, Belgium, and Germany stormed the neighborhood of Grésilles.[4][5] The people participating wore hoods to conceal their identity and brandished clubs as well as firearms.[6] They shot in the air, destroyed surveillance cameras, and set garbage bins as well as vehicles on fire. [1] Videos of the individuals were posted on social media, with some videos depicting people walking the street armed with machine guns, baseball bats and metal rods.[7]

These tensions continued throughout the weekend, but on Monday the interior minister ordered police reinforcements to terminate the situation and announced that the government would manage the crisis. There were helicopters, dozens of police vans, and firefighters attempting to deescalate the violence. However, in their attempts to break up the fighting and end the riots, police did not un-holster their guns.[2] The administration approximated that ten individuals had been injured. [1][3]


Dijon prosecutor Eric Mathais, issued a statement that investigators were trying to identify the participants.[8]

On the following Thursday, six people were arrested with their connection to the four-day long riots. Two men, one with Russian and one with French citizenship, were charged with criminal association and intent and with gathering to perpetrate violence as well as damage property. The consequences of their crimes could be ten years in jail. The other suspects have similar charges in addition to aggravated assault.[5]


The Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov expressed support for the Chechen rioters, stating they had decided to take matters into their own hands against the drug dealers, after the French police failed to act against those who assaulted the 16-year old Chechen boy. His comments were echoed by several Chechen individuals who claimed that the destruction was a good thing.[9] The father of the assaulted teenager, issued a statement asking individuals to stop rioting and for calm within the neighborhood.[8]

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner defended the police's reaction to the riots claiming that the police had been outnumbered by "a savage horde", while Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party claimed the streets had been thrown into chaos by gangs waging ethnic wars.[2]

Outrage was pointed at French police by local officials due to the lack of firearm use, with some officials claiming that it had allowed ethnic groups to settle anger and disputes on the street. Other French authorities and policing experts have highlighted the response to the riots as instead a textbook showing of police restraint, during a time of high profile protests against police use of lethal force in both the United States following the murder of George Floyd and in France with the death of Cédric Chouviat.[2]


  1. ^ a b c France-Presse, Agence (2020-06-16). "France vows to end violence in Dijon after fourth night of unrest". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  2. ^ a b c d Morenne, Matthew Dalton and Benoit (2020-06-21). "In France, Police Tactics Are Less Lethal—but Still Stir Controversy". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  3. ^ a b "France Sends Police Reinforcements to Dijon to Quell Unrest". US News. Associated Press. June 16, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Morenne, Matthew Dalton and Benoit (2020-06-21). "In France, Police Tactics Are Less Lethal—but Still Stir Controversy". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  5. ^ a b AFP (2020-06-20). "4 Suspects Face Charges in Dijon Ethnic Unrest Blamed on Chechens". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  6. ^ "French police arrest six Chechens over violent clashes in Dijon". France 24. 2020-06-18. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  7. ^ Momtaz, Rym (2020-06-16). "Violent gang clashes in Dijon add to French government security woes". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-12-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b AFP, French Press Agency- (2020-06-19). "French police stage raids in Dijon after violent unrest". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  9. ^ "Chechnya's leader blames police failures for violence in Dijon". AFP. 2020-06-18. Retrieved 2020-06-19.