Riots Erupt in Paris Suburb Following Death of Motorcyclist Hit by Train

A police officer wearing protective gloves stands, in Paris, on March 24, 2020, on the eighth day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

A night of urban violence and rioting erupted in the Paris suburb of Montigny-lès-Cormeilles on Wednesday night following the death of an 18-year-old motorcyclist which was blamed on police.

Seven individuals aged from 16 to 32 were arrested in connection with the riots, which saw seven surveillance cameras and 12 garbage bins destroyed, and projectiles launched at the town hall and several police stations in the area.

Forty-five police officers were deployed to restore order, including officers from neighbouring municipalities.

The death of the teen took place on a railway track at around 6:45 pm. He was struck by a train while trying to cross using a pedestrian crossing between Franconville and Montigny-lès-Cormeilles with his mini motorcycle.

Rail traffic was halted along the line until midnight. Residents who heard the accident initially thought that a train had derailed. “When we saw the phone, the shoes and the puffer jacket, we understood,” one resident told the newspaper, Le Parisien.

Shortly after the accident, local youths began blaming the police for the death of the teen, the deputy departmental director of public security for Val-d’Oise said. An official French police Twitter account denied the accusation, labelling the allegations “fake news”.

A resident denied a police connection, saying: “They are convinced that the young man was being chased by the police, but no. We were there immediately afterwards. There was no one.”

The case echoes another incident a month prior in which a motorcyclist had been injured after an accident involving police in Villeneuve-la-Garenne.

Police were once again blamed for the incident and cities and towns across France saw rioting and attacks on police in various no-go areas for multiple nights despite France being under lockdown due to the Wuhan coronavirus.

Earlier this month, the commune of Argenteuil saw multi-night riots after the death of a motorcyclist who lost control of his motorcycle near a police vehicle. Cars and other items were set on fire and police were also attacked with Molotov cocktails.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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