Mayor urges calm after Paris suburb clash

PARIS - A French mayor called for calm on Monday in his Paris suburb, where dozens of youths clashed with police overnight after two teenagers were killed in a crash with a police car.

The violence brought back memories of the 2005 riots in Paris suburbs, when thousands of cars were torched after two teenagers were electrocuted and killed in an electricity sub-station after apparently fleeing police.

"I'm appealing to all inhabitants, and notably young people so that we can get back to calm in our town," said Didier Vaillant, mayor of the town of Villiers-le-Bel north of Paris.

"Since yesterday, we're in mourning. Last night, the town has suffered," he told i-tele television.

Around 20 police officers and firemen were injured in the overnight clashes, officials said. The town's police station caught fire and that of the neighbouring town, Arnouville-les-Gonesse, was ransacked.

Police sources said the two youngsters, who were 15 and 16 years old, were riding on a stolen motorcycle without helmets when the accident happened on Sunday.

"It was not a chase but apparently a traffic accident," a police source said.

A police union source said the two had not respected the right of way. French media said several eye witnesses contested this.

Vaillant called for an impartial inquiry into the case and said the investigation should get under way as soon as possible.

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