Hundreds of angry youths rioted in a Paris suburb early Friday, setting fire to cars and shop fronts, after two of their peers were electrocuted to death while fleeing police. The rampage in Clichy-sous-Bois, northeast of Paris, started with an attack on firefighters called in to help the two youths, who died after seeking cover next to an electrical transformer. A third youth suffered serious burns.
Crowds of rioters hurled stones at the firefighters then rioted through the streets until early morning, leaving a trail of charred destruction as they set fire to cars, garbage cans and buildings.
Hundreds of police were called in to restore calm. No injuries were reported.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy condemned the "dramatic" actions by the youths. He said that police had initially arrived in the area amid an attempted robbery and the officers denied having chased the two youths, the AP reports.
Sarkozy has made it a priority to crack down on crime. Earlier this week, Sarkozy announced new measures to deploy thousands of riot police to France's toughest neighborhoods and to equip police night patrols with video cameras.