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Riots flare for second night in Paris suburbs

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Riots have flared for a second night in flashpoint suburbs north of Paris, despite the launch of a judicial probe into the deaths of two teens that sparked the violence.

Some 100 angry youths crouching behind trash cans in Villiers-le-Bel, 20 kilometres north of the French capital, hurled objects at 160 riot police who responded with rubber bullets and teargas.

After Sunday's first night of unrest, President Nicolas Sarkozy had appealed for calm with France fearful of a repeat of nationwide riots that gripped the country in 2005.

But this was to no avail as police Monday reported up to 30 personnel injured and said dozens of vehicles had been set ablaze in several districts in the wider Val d'Oise area. The severity of the injuries was not specified.

A bus, which had no passengers on board at the time, and a lorry were set alight respectively in nearby Longjumeau and Grigby, police sources said.

Around a dozen people forced the bus driver out of his vehicle before beating him and setting fire to the vehicle, police said.

In Villiers-le-Bel, a pre-school, a driving school and a beauty salon were also torched, witnesses said, while youths stoned a police car and a fire engine as well as looting another vehicle and causing further damage.

Anti-riot police had been dispatched to the suburb earlier in the day to shore up the officers' ranks.

The catalyst for the suburban unrest was a collision between a motorcycle and a police vehicle on Sunday evening in Villiers-le-Bel that killed two teenagers, aged 15 and 16. Six hours of clashes followed.

Speaking earlier on a trip to Beijing, Mr Sarkozy called for "all sides to calm down and for the judiciary to decide who bears responsibility".

State prosecutor Marie-Therese Givry ordered an internal police investigation for "involuntary manslaughter and failure to assist persons in danger" following the deaths of the two teenagers.

But speaking later to reporters, she said witnesses had confirmed the police officers' version according to which the bike smashed into the side of their car during a routine patrol. Neither youth was wearing a helmet.

Omar Sehhouli, brother of one of the victims, accused police of ramming the motorbike and of failing to assist the teens. © 2007 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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