Deaths spark riots in French cities

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The Independent Online
The shooting by police of two young men, in separate incidents near Lyons and Fontainebleau, has sparked another round of violence in French cities. John Lichfield reports from Paris.

Fabrice Fernandez, 24, was shot in the mouth in bizarre circumstances by a police officer while answering questions at a police station in Lyons. Abdelkadher Bouziane, 16, was shot and killed when his car crashed through a police road-block near Fontainebleau.

The death of the two men ignited two nights of riots in the "quartiers difficiles" (sink suburbs) in which they lived. The violence brings to a head weeks of rumbling in the deprived inner suburbs of a score of towns all over France.

The National Front, and some mainstream right-wing politicians, have used the violence provoked by the incidents to call for a police clamp- down on deprived areas.

Both men were French born from immigrant backgrounds, Mr Bouziane's family from North Africa and Mr Fernandez's from Spain.

Mr Bouziane was driving - under age - his mother's carwhen he refused to stop for police. Four shots were fired, one killing Mr Bouziane and another wounding a 19-year-old passenger. The death triggered two nights of clashes betweenyouths and riot police in suburbs between Melun and Fontainebleau where the men lived.

Mr Fernandez was arrested in Lyons, with his two half-brothers. A rifle was taken from one of the brothers. At the police station, an officer picked it up and threatened to fire if the group did not shut up. The gun went off, hitting Mr Fernandez in the mouth and killing him instantly. The policeman has been placed in custody.

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