Riots erupt in Rouen in the wake of Paris unrest

Media coup: Generation Identity projects protesting message on the Great Mosque of Lyon. Photo supplied

Riots in France continue. After a biker crashed into the door of a police car in Villeneuve-la-Garenne on April 18, tensions erupted not only in several immigrant social housing districts in the suburbs of Paris, but also elsewhere in the country.

On the night of Sunday April 26 to Monday April 27, the city of Rouen was the scene of urban violence. Rubbish bin fires and construction equipment were arsoned in various places and an impressive police presence had to be deployed to repel provocative rioters, reported the site.

It all started in the late afternoon, northeast of Rouen. Many urban rodeos were first reported with dozens of motorcycles, quads and cars driving at high speed in the streets. The situation calmed down with the massive arrival of police, but tensions quickly resumed overnight. reported that groups of individuals were running around the neighbourhood, provoking the police. Officers were targeted with projectiles, “rocks” according to one of them. Fireworks were also fired at the police, while residents watched from their windows.

According to information from, two backhoe loaders were also set on fire around 10:30 pm. Finally, calm returned at around midnight. Firefighters put out the fires while security forces secured the premises.

A note had circulated on Friday, April 24, urging French police units “not to intervene in neighbourhoods with a high concentration of inhabitants following Ramadan”.

The note was sent by the Chief of Staff of the Departmental Directorate of Public Security (DDSP) of Calvados to the department heads, reported French daily Le Figaro. In this telex, it was specifically stated that there was “no need to intervene in neighbourhoods with a high concentration of inhabitants following Ramadan, for noise disturbances or to control a group of people gathered after sunset to eat”. It was added that these instructions obviously did not concern “attacks on persons or serious damage to property”.

The director of the DDSP of Calvados finally specified that it was necessary “to show discernment in this matter, in order to avoid breaches of the confinement rules degenerating and causing more disturbances leading to urban violence”.

The director of the National Police (DPGN) visibly irritated by the note in Calvados, soon reaffirmed that “the National Police intervenes at any point on the territory to ensure the security of people and property whatever the circumstances. The DPGN requested that an explanatory report be sent to it”.

In the entourage of Interior Minister Christophe Castaner a source spoke of the “incomprehensible local initiative” . The source cited by Le Figaro recalled that “the national guidelines were clear”.

On Friday morning, the Secretary of State for the Interior, Laurent Nunez, also confirmed that no instructions to loosen police controls had been given on the territory.

Meanwhile, to protest the call to prayer launched on March 25 from the minaret of the Grand Mosque of Lyon, Génération identitaire projected messages on the walls of the place of worship.

The Imam of the Great Mosque in the capital of Gaul, Kamel Kabtane, had wanted to join the Catholics who were ringing the bells of their churches at the same time to show their solidarity with the medical staff mobilized to fight the Coronavirus.

But is was especially a way to occupy French public space, declared illegal elsewhere. Since street prayers and wearing the Islamic veil have become difficult, the imam tried audio. In the days that followed, other places of Islamic worship followed the example of the Grand Mosque of Lyon.

But a little less than a month later, the activists of Generation Identity carried out a media coup in three acts to protest against these new episodes of appropriation of public space. On April 20, a message was projected on the wall of the mosque: “Lyon, Strasbourg, Marseille, Germany, Spain…”

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