A high school guard suffered a heart attack and died today while trying to extinguish cars set aflame by vandals in the latest unrest in troubled French suburbs, police said.
The guard collapsed southwest of Paris in Trappes, one of about 300 cities and towns that were hit by three weeks of rioting, arson attacks or other violence that shook France earlier this month.
While the violence has abated, sporadic arson attacks continue, as they did before the rioting. Police say dozens of cars are torched each night on average in France’s depressed suburbs, where frustrations over unemployment and discrimination often run high, especially among youths from immigrant families.
Yesterday, youths in a public housing project in the eastern city of Colmar threw stones at firefighters called in to extinguish burning scooters, said Jean-Christophe Schneider, a regional spokesman. No one was injured, but the windshield of the rescuers’ vehicle was smashed.
Meanwhile, French ambassador Jean-David Levitte turns up at a stateside forum held by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) to perform his “Don’t worry, be happy” routine.