Timeline: French riots


A chronology of key events:

25 October: Visiting the Paris suburb of Argenteuil to see how new measures against urban violence are working, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is pelted with stones and bottles. He says that crime-ridden neighbourhoods should be "cleaned with a power hose" and describes violent elements as "gangrene" and "rabble".

27 October: Teenagers Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore are electrocuted after climbing into an electrical sub-station in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, in what locals say was an attempt to hide from police. The police deny this, but news of their deaths triggers riots in the area which is home to large African and Arab communities. Arsonists destroy 15 vehicles.

29 October : As unrest creeps across the Seine-Saint-Denis administrative region, a silent march to remember Zyed and Bouna is held in Clichy-sous-Bois by mourners in tee-shirts reading "dead for nothing".

30 October : Mr Sarkozy pledges "zero tolerance" of rioting and sends police reinforcements to Clichy-sous-Bois. A junior minister in charge of equal opportunities, Azouz Begag, condemns the use of the word "rabble". A tear gas grenade, like those used by riot police, explodes at a Clichy-sous-Bois mosque, provoking further anger.

1 November: Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin pledges a full investigation into the deaths of Zyed and Bouna at a meeting with their families. Rioting spreads out of Seine-Saint-Denis to three other regions in the Paris area.

2 November: Rioters ransack a police station at Aulnay-sous-Bois, police report coming under fire from at least two live bullets at La Courneuve and 177 vehicles are burnt.

3 November: Violence spreads beyond the Paris region to the eastern city of Dijon and parts of the south and west, with 400 vehicles burnt.

6 November: President Jacques Chirac promises to restore order after a meeting with his government. There follows the most dramatic night of rioting to date with nearly 1,500 vehicles burnt and nearly 400 arrests. Most attacks are now occurring far beyond the Paris area. Two policemen are seriously injured in clashes in town of Grigny, near Paris.

7 November: Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, 61, dies of injuries he received in an assault on Friday in the town of Stains, Seine-Saint-Denis. French media suggest he is the first fatality of the riots.