President Francois Mitterrand ordered a crackdown on violence in the Paris suburbs after Sunday’s killings of a policewoman and an Algerian immigrant.
Violence “must be stamped out, particularly in problem areas where citizens are its first victims,” Mitterrand told Interior Minister Philippe Marchand in a message made public Monday.
Marchand ordered tough riot police to reinforce regular units in Mantes-la-Jolie, scene of the killings, and other areas where youths have rioted this year. Six companies of 180 riot police were on standby starting Monday.
The policewoman, Marie-Christine Baillet, 32, died after she was hit by a stolen car driven by youths from Val Fourre, part of Mantes-la-Jolie, France’s biggest low-income housing project. Police said the youths deliberately drove at high speed toward Baillet.
Later, police shot and killed Youssef Khaif, 23, an Algerian riding in another stolen car on the grounds of the housing project.
According to local officials, the gang used the cars to ram shop windows and loot them.
In the Paris suburb of Sartrouville in March, hundreds of youths battled officers for two days after a supermarket guard shot a teen-ager to death. Last year, there were three days of violence in Vaux-en-Velin, on the outskirts of Lyon.