Crowds of youths in the Paris suburb of Trappes have thrown stones at police officers and set fire to cars in a second night of disturbances.
The trouble was sparked by the arrest of a man whose wife was told by police on Thursday to remove an Islamic face-covering veil, banned in public.
Trappes unrest was sparked by the arrest of a man whose wife was told by police to remove an Islamic face-covering veil, banned in public
He has been accused of trying to strangle the officer.
Up to 300 people attacked a police station in Trappes on Friday night where the man was being held.
One leading Muslim group disputed the authorities’ version of events, blaming police “provocation”.
The suspect, described as a Muslim convert aged 21, was later released on Saturday pending an appearance in court, French media say.
The ban on wearing the full face veil in public was introduced in April 2011 with the threat of a financial penalty for not observing it.
Reinforcements from the CRS riot police were drafted in and Interior Minister Manuel Valls said they would remain in place until calm was restored. Thirty riot police vehicles were seen outside the Trappes police station.
In the latest violence which erupted in Trappes and several neighboring areas, bus-shelters and cars were torched and fireworks directed at police, who responded with tear gas and baton charges.
The worst of the trouble took place in the early hours of Sunday. In one reported incident, a car was driven at police but no-one was hurt.
“It’s beginning to spread to surrounding areas – Elancourt and Guyancourt,” David Callu of the SGP police officers’ union told BFM-TV news channel.
Four people were arrested and 20 cars burned, Manuel Valls said in a statement.
Tensions in France’s high-immigration city suburbs continue to fester.
Although there has been no sustained unrest since the 2005 riots, sporadic violence is far from rare, he adds.
In 2005, a state of emergency was imposed when a wave of rioting spread across France, sparked by the deaths of two teenagers in a Paris suburb.
The soldier was on patrol in the area of La Defense when he was stabbed in the neck by an unknown man who escaped
A French soldier has been stabbed in a Paris suburb and the authorities are investigating whether the incident was a copycat attack in the wake of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, killed in London this week.
“They tried to kill the soldier because he was a soldier,” said French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The soldier was on patrol in the area of La Defense when he was stabbed in the neck by an unknown man who escaped.
His injuries are not life-threatening and he is in a stable condition.
Earlier, French President Francois Hollande had said all possibilities were being explored but there was no evidence yet of any link to the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in the Woolwich area of London on Wednesday.
But Jean-Yves Le Drian said the soldier had been targeted, and said he was determined to lead “an implacable fight against terrorism”.
The 23-year-old French soldier was patrolling in uniform with two colleagues in the suburban railway station at La Defense late on Saturday afternoon.
He was attacked from behind by a man wielding a knife or a box-cutter.
The assailant, whose identity is unknown, ran away into a crowded shopping area before the two other soldiers were able to react.
A senior police officer said the soldier had lost a considerable amount of blood but would survive, and is now being treated in a nearby military hospital.
France is on high alert following a threat from the North African wing of al-Qaeda, related to the country’s involvement in Mali.
The higher state of alert is one of the reasons why these soldiers are on patrol in central Paris.
Shortly after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, a man was filmed nearby saying he had carried out the attack because British soldiers killed Muslims every day.
Two men have been arrested and remain in hospital after they were shot by police.
Both men were known to the British security services.