Rioters burned cars, attacked a tramway and shot at police in the French city of Grenoble overnight in protest at the death of a local Muslim man, identified as 27-year- old Karim Boudouda, fleeing police after allegedly holding up the city's casino.
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux was to travel to the southeastern city on Saturday to monitor events, his office said.
The violence began around midnight on Friday and lasted through the night in the poor suburban neighborhood of Villeneuve, home to the alleged robber.
Mayhem in Grenoble (Photo: AFP)
Police said they intervened after local residents stopped a tramway by setting a fire on the rails and stoned it. At least 50 cars were burned and police said they were shot at once and returned fire. No casualties were reported.
The trouble followed a hold-up in a casino in nearby Uriage-les-Bains by two armed men in the early hours of Friday.
Police choppers join chase
Police said the duo fled with 20,000-40,000 euros and were chased by police. Police said the suspects opened fire, wounding an officer, and one of the suspected robbers was killed in the ensuing shooting.
The second man fled into Villeneuve, where police helicopters flew overhead for much of the night in a fruitless attempt to locate him.
The riot in Grenoble recalled civil unrest that exploded across France in late 2005 after two teenagers from a rough Parisian suburb died as they were fleeing police.
The deaths touched off almost three weeks of riots across the country, often in the rough suburbs that ring France's major cities. These high-rise neighborhoods, built in the 1950s and 1960s to house a growing population of industrial workers and immigrants, have become near-ghettos where unemployment is high, public services are poor, and resentment boils.
During the 2005 riots, some 300 buildings and 10,000 cars were burned, while 130 police and rioters were hurt.
Reuters and AFP contributed to the story
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