The French city of Dijon saw an increased police presence on Monday after several armed clashes between Chechen and North African gangs, following an attack on a Chechen teen on Friday.
Dozens of people, many of them armed with firearms, knives, and iron bars gathered in Grésilles to take revenge on members of the local North African community, reportedly following an attack on a Chechen 16-year-old boy on June 10th. According to the prosecutor of Dijon, Éric Mathais, at least six people had been wounded in clashes on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
We all know Dijon, France as home to a popular mustard, but from now on we will remember it as home to a very violent feud between Chechen and Algerian gangs. pic.twitter.com/Qq3dAjL0Kv
— Mike (@Doranimated) June 16, 2020
At least 60 gendarmes officers were sent to Dijon to restore order along with 40 members of the CRS riot police, officers from the anti-crime brigade (BAC), and members of RAID, one of France’s most elite police units, newspaper Le Figaro reports.
Monday’s violence saw North African-background residents defending their “territory” from the Chechens who have launched a series of raids since Friday when a downtown hookah bar was attacked. Vehicles and trash cans were set on fire during the evening, and a TV crew from broadcaster France 3 was attacked as well.
“It was apparently members of the Chechen community who, since Friday, have called on their social networks to avenge the violence committed on a young person by people from the Maghreb community. For three evenings in a row, 140 people have come to Dijon to settle this dispute,” prosecutor Éric Mathais said.
One Chechen told media that other Chechens had come from not only other parts of France but from Belgium and Germany, as well.
The violence, according to local state official Bernard Schmeltz, “appeared to be part of a settling of scores between members of the Chechen community in France and residents”.
Dijon mayor François Rebsamen denounced the violence, saying: “Since justice comes too late and the police do not have the means to act, the Chechen community has come to enforce their rights themselves. We are no longer in the Republic when this happens.”
Videos of the violence and have circulated across social media in recent days along with other videos of what appear to be heavily armed men in tactical gear and long rifles.
The violence in Dijon comes after multiple riots have rocked various areas of France since the start of the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown, many of which have been sparked by allegations of police brutality in some of the county’s no-go neighbourhoods and suburbs.
— Damien Rieu (@DamienRieu) June 15, 2020