The incident occurred in the Tarterets neighborhood of Corbeil-Essonnes, a southeastern suburb of the French capital, on Wednesday evening. Footage circulating online shows a heavily damaged police van maneuvering through the street while being pelted with various projectiles by a group of rowdy individuals. Multiple blasts can be heard, apparently from fireworks being thrown at the van.
The van appears to be visibly damaged, its door half-torn and hanging by one hinge, likely after the vehicle collided with other cars parked in the street. The van ultimately managed to get away from the angry crowd, though the attackers proceeded to chase the car, shouting: “Get out! F**k them!”
Local police acknowledged the incident on Thursday, stating that the attack occurred during a routine patrol, with the officers not even getting a chance to step out of their car. The van was targeted by “a group of 30 people wearing balaclavas and gloves, who threw fireworks, paving stones and incendiary bottles” at the vehicle, the police said, adding that the van received at least one direct hit with an incendiary device.
“One of the assailants was in possession of a handgun, while our agents also heard several explosions,” the police department said on Twitter.
The incident comes after two days of relative calm in the Tarterets neighborhood, which has seen rioting and clashes between angry locals and police for several consecutive nights. The unrest was largely prompted by the emergence of a viral video showing the arrest of a young local man.
The man was suspected of partaking in illegal ‘city rodeo’ bike racing, with multiple officers showing up to grab him. While the arrest itself already appeared to be quite violent, the police also targeted the suspect’s mother, who tried to intervene. The woman was immediately pepper-sprayed as she attempted to approach the officers struggling with her son, the viral video shows.