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France Sends Police Reinforcements To Dijon To Quell Chechen-Linked Unrest

Police deployed in the Gresilles area of Dijon on June 15.
Police deployed in the Gresilles area of Dijon on June 15.

The French government has sent police reinforcements to the eastern city of Dijon after it was hit by a fourth night of unrest linked to score-settling by members of France’s Chechen community.

Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez travelled to Dijon on June 16, vowing an "extremely strong response" with more than 150 police and paramilitary gendarmes mobilized to halt any new unrest.

At least 10 people were injured in the violence, which began last week after a teenager from the Chechen community was assaulted in Dijon’s low-income district of Gresilles -- an area with a large population of North African origin.

The attack prompted reprisals by dozens of Chechens, who reportedly travelled to Dijon from across France, as well as from neighboring Belgium and Germany.

Late on June 15, dozens of hooded men carrying arms and crowbars gathered in Gresilles, shooting in the air, destroying video surveillance cameras, and setting fire to garbage cans and vehicles, police said.

But officials said the rioters were this time Dijon residents.

Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim region in the North Caucasus.

There are no precise figures on the number of Chechens living in France as they are included with other Russian passport holders.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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