Fear is gripping tourist-favorite Paris as violent, widespread riots in suburbs in protest of a black man's rape allegedly perpetuated by French police have reached the center of the iconic city.
Buildings and garbage bins were set on fire by the angry mob around the Barbes Metro station, located just around the corner from the Eurostar hub at Gare du Nord. Fire crews were called as reinforcement to extinguish the blazes, as lines of riot police had to contend with attacks from the mob.
Windows were smashed and even shops were not spared and fell victims to looting. Police officers said small group of protestors wearing hood to mask their identities caused much trouble then ran away to escape apprehension.
French authorities gave assurances that everything is being done to try to disperse the violent crowds, but admitted it might take a while before tensions dissipate.
Tensions have gripped Paris suburbs when a black man identified only as Theo was beaten up and allegedly raped by French policemen early this month. The victim claimed that he also suffered racial abuse from his attackers. A lone unidentified officer has been charged with rape, while three other men were charged with assault.
Theo had to undergo emergency surgery. Due to the public outcry over the incident and all the media attention it has been drawing, President Francois Hollande visited Theo while he also appealed for calm. Retaliatory actions have been carried out against police forces as police stations and squad cars have been attacked.
The far-right National Front (FN), riding high in the polls ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections in April, urged the public not to judge all of France's security forces at once due to the unfortunate and deplorable incident, and to patiently wait for the conclusion of the investigations.
FN also assures the French public to wait for Marine Le Pen's victory to set things right in the country. Le Pen has consistently come out strong against lawlessness and pledged zero tolerance of crime in the rundown suburbs, home to many newcomers to France. Le Pen also vowed to take a tough anti-immigration policy and a determined France First approach similar to President Trump whom Le Pen always said she is ideologically compatible with.