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Euro news: 5 stories from Europe you missed this week

ABACA/PA Images - Credit: Archant

Rape riots, raids, graffiti and jazz


Rioters have clashed with police in suburban Paris after claims a man was raped by an officer.

The Saint-Seine-Denis region, a working class area north east of the capital with a large minority population, has suffered repeated unrest since one officer was charged with aggravated rape and three others with aggravated assault.

They all deny the charges.

Scores of vehicles – including an abandoned a police car – bins and buildings were set ablaze as angry mobs roamed the area clashing with riot police. During

two nights of violence police arrested 26 people.

According to French press reports, at the height of the fighting police were encircled by the rioters and fired warning shots into the air using live ammunition. No injuries were reported.

Authorities are wary of unrest in France’s poor towns, after large-scale riots in 2005 which began in the Saint-Denis town of Clichy-Sous-Bois and spreading through social housing across the country.

This week’s violence was a show of outrage in support of the 22-year-old black man who alleges he was raped with a police officer’s baton during a spate of identity checks as part of a police operation targeting drug traffickers.

President Francois Hollande has visited the alleged victim at the hospital where he has been admitted, the Elysee Palace has confirmed.

Pictures have been posted on social media showing Hollande shaking hands with the young man lying in his hospital bed.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for ‘the greatest firmness’ should any of the four police officers implicated be proven guilty.

‘Police by their uniforms represent a state of law,’ Cazeneuve said, and must be ‘absolutely exemplary’.

Frederic Gabet, a lawyer for the officer charged with rape, said that any injury inflicted was done accidentally.

Firefighters raced to restore order after several shops were reported damaged and rubbish bins set ablaze in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a working class suburb north east of Paris with a large minority population.

Police Alliance spokesman Frederic Lagache said one police officer narrowly escaped being burned as a protester hurled a Molotov cocktail at his car.

‘The objective is to kill cops and this is unacceptable,’ Lagache said.

But local youths claim they are the victims of police who allegedly habitually target them without cause.

‘Frankly, it’s pathetic. The kid, he plays football, he’s serious. He never was in trouble with the police …’ Sofiane Hajjobi, a 21-year-old who lives on the estate said. ‘It’s not normal. We’re all frustrated. Now we’re at war with the police.’

Speaking to local media from hospital the man allegedly assaulted by the officers said police hit him and peppered him with racist insults.

At one point, one of the officers took his truncheon and ‘he drove it into my buttocks’, he said.

Another local man, Vin Mazout, 25, said: ‘These kinds of acts happen every day. Everybody, every day, is roughed up. There are attacks from the police. They insult us. They arrest us all the time. Excuse my words but if my skin was a different colour, I think my life in this neighbourhood would be better.’


Police have raided homes and offices linked to anti-government extremists the Reich Citizens’ Movement who are suspected of attempting to establish their own state. Premises in Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate were raided. Seven people were arrested accused of engaging in forgery by producing documents purportedly issued by the ‘German Reich’. There are nine other suspected sympathisers known to police. German authorities have expressed growing concern about the group which has been compared to the US sovereign citizen movement. A police officer was killed and three others were wounded last year in armed stand-offs with members of the group.


Germany’s foreign ministry has hit out at a Ukrainian politician who defaced a part of the Berlin Wall in the grounds of its Kiev embassy. Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc, sprayed red paint on a fragment of the wall after German ambassador Ernst Reichel suggested that elections could be held in eastern Ukraine despite the presence of Russian troops in the region. Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Honcharenko’s actions constituted ‘wholly inappropriate behaviour’. Schaefer said Germany considers Ukraine a ‘close partner’ and was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Kiev 25 years ago. Germany has given parts of the wall to countries across the world, and placed others at embassies and German institutions.


A court has handed one-year suspended prison terms and fined two Portuguese teenagers who scrawled their names on a gate of the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
A lawyer for the pair, aged 17 and 18, said they regret the incident and have apologised for defacing the red brick gate of Birkenau. Under Polish law, any damage to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial is a crime.
One of the teenagers used a pen to inscribe his name, the other a stone.


Jazz violinist Svend Asmussen, who played with legends Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Toots Thielemans, has died aged 100. Asmussen’s son Claus confirmed the death of his father, who was one of Denmark’s best-known jazz musicians and considered among the greats. Known as the ‘Fiddling Viking’, Asmussen’s gigs included performances with guitarist Django Reinhardt and violist Stephane Grappelli.

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