- The New York Times, June 1, 2006.
“About 15 youths attacked the police with rocks and other projectiles in a housing project in Clichy-sous-Bois about 9 p.m. Tuesday. The police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and arrested a number of the alleged assailants, including Mr. Altun, said a national police spokeswoman, who under police rules cannot be identified. The attackers also burned a number of vehicles and set fire to a police car in which four officers were sitting, the spokeswoman said. The officers escaped unharmed.”
- The New York Times, May 31, 2006.
I first became familiar with the term “wilding” after an incident in New York City in 2000. The papers told of a group of young men who, during and after the Puerto Rican day parade, went on a rampage of sorts, soaking the shirts of women and in at least one case being accused of sexually assaulting one.
Europe too is now coping with young male wilding, which has some similarities and some differences with the long history of youth unrest in the U.S. (As the mischievous comparison above suggests, the European trend now suggests comparisons with other parts of the world.) For some time now I have been collecting stories of these events. Some of them are disturbing in what they portend.
The U.S. suffered an epidemic of such unrest in the 1960s, had a major riot in Los Angeles in 1992 and periodically has smaller disturbances not just in big cities but in smaller ones such as Cincinnati or Tampa. These riots typically target businesses. Often they occur after someone is injured in an encounter with the police. The LA riots were sparked by a related incident, the acquittal in the state criminal trial of the officers who beat Rodney King. And more recently some of the anger has been directed not at whites or at the broader society but against other minority groups – Koreans in LA or Jews in the Crown Heights riots in New York in 1990.
Another difference is that in the European incidents no one dies. Hundreds died in the U.S. rioting of the 1960s, dozens in the LA rioting of 1992. So far only one person has died in the French rioting (which briefly resumed earlier this week after the orgy of November, 2005), and that was the person running from the police whose death from electric shock set the rioting off. But that is mostly a function of the available production technology, particularly guns. If les jeunes rioting in November had had easy access to handguns, it would have been a different story. And if they decide soon that they want handguns, they will get them.
Some of the European incidents are of the American type. In Antwerp in 2002, for example, there were two days of rioting sparked by the police shooting of a local Muslim teacher. It was confined to the Moroccan neighborhood, and targeted cars and businesses. But there is something more disturbing about some of these recent incidents:
- In Lisbon last summer, several hundred youths went on a robbing and assault binge during a holiday at Carcavelos beach. The BBC account linked above talks mostly of “muggings” and of the initial inability of police to restore order until reinforcements arrived. An account in The Decapolis Telling indicates that the mayhem continued on the train, that only four were arrested, and that it was all reminiscent of the sorts of scenes that occur in Rio de Janeiro all the time.
- During the March, 2006 protests over the proposed liberalization of French labor laws, the protesters found that they too could be the victims of the disorder someone else generated. At the fringes of the march some of them were assaulted by people who presumably came in from the banlieues because the pickings were easy. Accounts and pictures of the assaults can be found at Gateway Pundit here and here.
- Again from France, on March 8, 2005 there was a protest march in Paris by high-school students. It was descended on by perhaps 1000 youths from the suburbs who assaulted the marchers, male and female alike, and stole their cell phones (sometimes just for the laughs, as they were then immediately destroyed in front of the victims) and wallets. What was striking about the events, according to contemporary coverage, was how explicitly racial it was – the “little whites” were seen as easy pickings, with lots of money combined with an unwillingness to resist.
- In Antwerp in February, 2006, during the uproar over the Danish cartoons, a protest turned into wilding when youths began running through the streets and damaging cars with the drivers still in them. Thanks to the miracle of decentralized media in the digital age, we no longer live in the old days when, if an Officially Certified Journalist didn't cover it it didn't happen; the video of this event can be seen at the above link.
Not all incidents are so dramatic, but on the flip side they are much more frequent, so normal in fact as to elicit little attention. Assaults on teachers are recorded and the recordings then passed around enthusiatically.
A couple of things about these incidents are suggestive. First, while some of them are clearly opportunistic, a chance to grab some swag as social order temporarily vanishes (similar to the LA riots after the first night), that order decays so easily in some of the larger incidents is disturbing, a sign either of under-policed societies (very possible, because of the extent to which social-welfare spending is crowding out more and more things in many of these societies) or societies too crippled by skepticism of law-and-order rhetoric to take the necessary preventive action. Second, even when the police are there they are oftentimes not much feared. Both in November and this week police stations and cars and, as the quote above notes, even on one occasion police cars with police officers in them were attacked in Paris. One reads of sections there (and Malmö in Sweden) that are almost un-policeable. Undoubtedly there is some exaggeration, perhaps even hysteria, in some of these claims, but four years after his famous article, Theodore Dalrymple looks a lot closer to the mark than his critics. The ongoing belief by the wilders that the police are not a threat to the violence, whatever its motivation, bodes ill.
And so perhaps it is not surprising that these incidents appear to be growing. Once upon a time urban rioting of the American variety was much rarer, and occurred primarily in British cities. It was easy for continental Europe to write that off as a function of the stingier welfare state in the UK, which allowed them to file it with American rioting from a bygone era. But the spread of such events to the societies of the continent, where there is almost no more room for already welfare-thick states to do anything grand, noble and expensive to “fight poverty,” belies that notion. The combination of migrants desperate to get to Europe, a Europe desperately wishing they weren’t there, and an economy incapable of giving its young the means to a dignified life through a career suggests European wilding will get worse before it gets better. At best, the urban social disorder that Americans take for granted (and note that it declined greatly throughout the 1990s) is now entrenched in Europe. And if the analogy is to the American unrest of the 1960s, Europe has reached 1965 round about now; 1967 and 1968 still lie ahead.
I have decided to make this post a repository of these episodes as more of them happen.
On May 22, 2007, Moroccan fans damaged a soccer stadium (destroying seats and advertising boards) and ran onto the field uncontrollably during a match between the Moroccan and Dutch youth teams in Tilburg. No one was injured, but there was extensive damage, and the incident has led to a five-year ban on matches between Dutch and Moroccan teams in Holland. Some Youtube video here.
From the BBC, April 14, 2007, on a smallish riot by Chinese in Milan:
Italian riot police have broken up a violent protest in Milan's Chinatown by scores of Chinese immigrants.
About 10 police officers were injured and a similar number of Chinese people received hospital treatment.
The trouble began when a Chinese woman was fined for illegally transporting goods in a private vehicle.
More than 100 Chinese shopkeepers and members of their families, many waving the national flag, massed in the street claiming racial discrimination.
During the unrest, which lasted until nightfall, a car was overturned and the police carried out a baton charge. The woman was arrested and later admitted to hospital.
The Chinese immigrant community in Italy has grown very rapidly during the past 10 years.
From Islam in Europe, April 2007:
The unrest Sunday morning by the Kurdish community in the Brussels suburb of Sint-Joost-ten-Node broke into riots by the afternoon. After a fire in a Kurdish community center, about 50 Kurds had gathered to loudly protest. In the afternoon young Turks began to gather as well, till there were about 400.
Finally the police had to charge three times with a water cannon to break apart the Turks.
The fire by the community center started at about 2AM. The community center, which is on the ground floor, completely burned down, but the family the lives above the establishment was unhurt. According to the fire brigade there isn't any doubt that the fire had been set on purpose.
Two years ago a Kurdish community center was burned down by arson in the same neighborhood. The protesters Sunday morning demanded that the mayor come to the area and that surveillance cameras be put up.
From Yahoo News, on March, 27, 2007 rioting by young men, presumably mostly black and Arab, at the Paris train station Gare Du Nord:
PARIS - Riot police firing tear gas and brandishing batons clashed Tuesday with bands of youths who shattered windows and looted shops at a major Paris train station, and officials said seven people were arrested.
Officers and police dogs charged at groups of marauding youths, some of them wearing hoods, who mingled with commuters and travelers at the Gare du Nord — one of Paris' most important transport hubs.
Some of the youths threw trash cans and other objects at the officers, who responded by firing tear gas.
One woman was evacuated by paramedics for inhalation of tear gas.
The clashes began in midafternoon, and forced the closure of the station's subway and commuter lines for several hours. The station's long-distance rail hub and Eurostar terminal, which is attached to the subway station, remained open throughout.
They started after a man without a Metro ticket punched two inspectors during a routine ticket check, said officials from Paris' RATP public transport authority. Youths also attacked the inspectors and later turned on police patrolling the station, officials said.
"The inspectors were hit with projectiles, as were the officers who came to assist them," said Luc Poignant, an official for the Force Ouvriere police union.
From Dutch News, March 2007, describing two days of rioting by white youths in the wake of the shooting of a white man by police. There had been tension, according to Expatica, between whites and Turks prior to the incident.
At least 130 people have been arrested after a second night of disturbances in Utrecht, both in the city centre and fringes of the neighbourhood Ondiep. Police said the arrests included a number of football supporters from FC Utrecht, Feyenoord and Amsterdam Ajax who had come to the city looking for trouble.
Police sealed off Ondiep in an effort to avoid further incidents. Two people were arrested in the neighbourhood on Monday night when youths went on the rampage after a 54-year-old man was shot dead by police. A community centre was set on fire and destroyed during the disturbances.
On Tuesday night gangs of youths gathered in various places around Ondiep. In one incident, stones and bottles were thrown at the police, in another fires were set. The situation in Utrecht had normalised by around midnight, NOS tv reported.
October 5, 2007: AFP has the story of young lads who attacked a fire engine with a police escort before setting fire to buildings and cars, in St. Dizier, France:
French police clashed overnight with youths who went on a rampage in a town in eastern France, prompting Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to travel to the troublespot.
Between 40 and 50 masked youths used metal bars to smash a firefighters' vehicle and a police car dispatched to a shopping mall in Saint-Dizier, said Yves Guillot, the head of the Haute-Marne regional government.
The youths then fanned out across the town of 30,000 inhabitants, setting fire to two buildings, a car rental office and 16 vehicles. Police reinforcements were sent in to quell the violence.
"We are trying to understand what happened. We have had clashes in our town but not on this scale," said Mayor Francois Cornut-Gentille.
The youths are said to be residents of Saint-Dizier's low-income housing project, Vert-bois, which is home to 12,000 people.
January 11 and 18, Spain: consecutive weekends of rioting in Spain over "fascism" and "anti-fascism":
From Typically Spanish:
Teenager killed as rival gangs clash in Madrid metro station
The 16 year old was a member of a left-wing gang on its way to an anti-immigration rally called by Neonazis
Hundreds demonstrated in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol on Sunday evening in protest at the death of a 16 year old boy who was stabbed to death in a clash between two rival gangs in the Legazpi area of the city on Sunday afternoon. Eight others were injured in the clashes – one of them seriously - and one of them could be the suspected attacker, according to a report by the EFE news agency.
The paper said it happened in a confrontation between Neonazi skinheads and the anti-fascist red skin gang, and began inside a metro train at the local station, when the victim was on his way with a group of friends to support immigrants at an anti-immigration protest called by the far right political organisation, Juventudes de Democracia Nacional.
El País newspaper said some of those involved in the confrontation between the two groups used self-defence sprays, and anti riot police were brought in to control any further disturbances, both in Legazpi and at the next station in Usera.
And from Expatica:
Neo-Nazi hate crime sparks "anti-fascist" riot
19 November 2007
Barcelona - Hundreds of people rioted in Barcelona Saturday as police attempted to break up an illegal demonstration called to protest the murder a week earlier of a 16-year-old boy by a neo-Nazi.
The rioters, who described themselves as anti-fascists, assaulted police officers, burnt garbage containers and attacked the headquarters of the regional interior affairs department. Several rioters and 10 police officers were injured in the violence and seven people were arrested.
The riot on Saturday followed a similar outbreak of extremist violence in Madrid the previous weekend following the murder of Carlos Javier P., a 16-year-old anti-fascist stabbed to death by a 24-year-old off-duty soldier, Josué Estébanez de la Hija.
Some video of the latter incident is up at No Pasaran.
Five consecutive nights of "rioting," in the form of setting fire to cars and dumpsters, and vandalizing public buildings (including schools), according to AFP:
Six youths were arrested in Copenhagen for setting cars and dumpsters ablaze and throwing stones at police in a fifth night of riots in a predominantly immigrant area of the Danish capital, police said Friday.
"We've had six arrests so far. They've been charged with throwing stones at police and setting fires to cars and waste containers," Chief Inspector Henrik Olesen of the Copenhagen police told AFP.
At least 11 cars were torched in various neighbourhoods of Copenhagen, and 10 others in the nearby town of Kokkedal.
On Thursday, 17 youths were arrested for rioting the previous night.
"We don't know why they're rioting. I think it's because they're bored. Some people say it's because of the cartoons but that's not my opinion," Olesen said.
He was referring to the reprinting of a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed in 17 Danish newspapers on Wednesday.
Let the record show, in case there is future controversy over it, that the disturbances began before the decision by Danish newspapers to reprint the cartoons.
June 14, 2008, Vitry le François, France (from News 24, South Africa):
Lille - Dozens of French youths clashed with police in a town in northeast France overnight, burning cars during a rampage triggered by the killing of a 22-year-old man, an official said on Sunday.
Two police officers, two firefighters and five residents suffered minor injuries during the violence that raged until Sunday morning in Vitry-le-Francois, said Sylvaine Astic from the regional prefect's office.
Armed with baseball bats and firebombs, about 50 youths went on a rampage, torching cars and setting fire to garbage bins in the town of 17 000 people, Astic told AFP.
The violence started around 22:00 (20:00 GMT) after the 22-year-old man was gunned down in Vitry-le-Francois. A suspect was arrested overnight.
This article in Le Monde says that 60 cars were burned, and describes the residents of the area as having fallen into “psychosis” since the rioting, eager to buy arms that are illegal to buy in France.
July 10, 2008: A remarkable shootout on the streets of Lisbon between two gangs:
Gates of Vienna has a summary of what the Portuguese news reporters are saying, along with other commentary.
Times Online (UK), Sept. 8, 2008, on street battles between gypsies and Africans in Roquetas del Mar, Spain:
Riot police were deployed throughout a Spanish seaside town popular with British expatriates today after the second consecutive night of rioting by African immigrants.
The fighting in Roquetas del Mar, 12 miles west of Almería, were caused by a dispute between Spanish Gypsies and African immigrants in which a 28 year old Senegalese man was stabbed to death, the Spanish Interior Ministry said.
Outraged migrant workers set fire to the home of the man they said was responsible, and erected barricades, smashed shop windows and kept firefighters at bay with stones and bottles.
Police responded with baton charges and rubber bullets in scenes that were reminiscent of race riots in the Paris suburbs last year. Four police officers were injured and several fire vehicles were damaged. Eight Africans were arrested.
It was the latest outburst of race-related violence in Spain, which has witnessed a surge of immigration in the past decade. As many as 1,000 Spanish youths fought Latin American immigrants in the Madrid suburb of Alcorcón last year. Many claimed that they were reclaiming the neighbourhood from gangs that had arrived from Central America.
Times Online (UK), Sept. 20, 2008, from Naples:
Race riots exploded in the southern Italian town of Castelvolturno near Naples yesterday after six African immigrants were shot dead at a tailor’s shop in an attack by gangsters from the the Naples Mafia.
Police said that the violence was related to a drugs turf war among the Camorra, the Naples Mafia, in which African immigrants appeared to be involved. But the rioters, who smashed windows and turned over cars, accused the police and mafiosi of racism for assuming that immigrants were drugs dealers. At least six gunmen fired Kalashnikovs and small arms during the attack.
Young men with crowbars forced motorists out of their vehicles while African women screamed. “We want justice. It’s not true that our murdered friends sold drugs or were mobsters,” one protester said. The six dead, all in their late twenties, were from Ghana, Togo and Liberia.
First week of December, Athens. No immigrant or ethnic component this time, just ideological. Greek anarchist/fascist/communist/whatnot young rioting for several days, trashed stores, hotel lobbies and even government buildings in the process, with little if any response from law enforcement, owing to hesitancy rooted in Greece's period of military rule. The New York Times has as good a survey as any.
Dec. 19, 2008: Esther at Islam in Europe, who always does a great job presenting the phenomenon of Muslims in Europe in all its complexity, has a roundup of simultaneous low-level disturbances (riots, if you like) in Malmö (Sweden), France and Greece. The disturbances concern, respectively, the arrest of radicals in a mosque, reaction to education reform, and whatever it is that Greek anarchists riot about.
It's not 1848, but it is a little disconcerting. If I were a betting man I would look to Spain next.
May 7-12, 2009: Portugal, it turns out. From The Portugal News Online:
Around a dozen people were detained and taken for identification by PSP officers following days of unrest in the notorious Bairro da Bela Vista, Setúbal.
Police reinforcements had been on standby since a riot broke out in the vicinity last week. Some 200 people surrounded a police station and threw stones at it after the funeral of a man who was shot by officers following a police chase in the Algarve.
Named as 23-year-old Antonio de Jesus Vieira, who was originally from Setúbal, the deceased was believed to be part of a gang that stole an ATM machine from the Hospital Particular in Alvor. He died from his injuries two days later in a Lisbon hospital.
Since the riot unrest has reigned over the already ill-famed area.
Earlier this week members of the police’s Intervention Core have randomly stopped suspicious-looking vehicles coming in and out of the neighbourhood.
That same night a local fire brigade was called out a couple of times to extinguish fires that had been lit in waste bins.
Rioters set fire to three police vehicles during the early hours of Monday morning, which after police intervention resulted in three detentions.
July 8-9, 2009: Small-scale rioting in France over death in custody of suspect:
LYON, France (Reuters) - Youths in the southeastern French town of Firminy burned cars and destroyed a social centre on Wednesday night as protests over the death in police custody of a young man continued for a second night.
Around 200 riot police were deployed into the early hours on Thursday, with a helicopter circling overhead as groups of young people set fire to rubbish bins before moving on to torch cars and the social centre.
The protests followed the death on Wednesday of Mohamed Benmouna, a local man arrested for attempted extortion, who fell into a coma after what police said was a suicide attempt and died several hours later.
These events are becoming more frequent, so I can only report the more egregious ones, including attacks on civil authority. Attack on a police station, Brussels:
Brussels: Riots after nightly arrest
Nine police agents were injured in riots Thursday evening in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. One agent was seriously injured. The violence began during the arrest of a 14 year old who had badgered and taunted the police over the previous days. Two minors were meanwhile arrested.
The two minors threw various projectiles at the police yesterday evening and resisted their arrest. They are now being brought to the magistrate. The prosecution wants to arrest them. The minor for whom the riots began needs to show up by a youth court.
For several days the 14 year old had badgered and taunted the police. At about 7pm Thursday evening agents went to his house at the Vanderstichelenstraat to pick him up. This lead to loud protests by the boy's family.
About twenty people gathered around the agents, throwing stones at the police. The police had to use pepper-spray to keep the spectators at bay and took the boy with them to the station at Briefdragerstraat.
The family soon arrived, accompanied by about sixty people, to protest at the police station. They became wild and a number of youth threw stones at the station, smashing the windows of police cars and the station itself.
Johan Berckmans of the police explains that this was a person who harassed the police during police surveillance as part of Ramadan. Police agents were called names and even threatened. On Wednesday the agents couldn't proceed to the arrest of this person, it took place on Thursday with all the consequences that followed.
The police called in for reinforcements from the Brussels Capital/Elsene zone. After the rioters were dispersed, the riots moved to the area around the Ribeaucourtstraat and the Leopold II-laan.
Two water cannon, a police helicopter and 100 agents were needed in order to calm down the situation. Nine agents were injured during the incident, one seriously.
The police union is asking for urgent measures from the government. Philip Van Hamme of the NSPV says that more personnel should be immediately added to the permanent and preventive services. More should be invested in those services, and certainly in the preventive patrols which should be thoroughly expanded.
Source: Islam in Europe, originally from Brussels Nieuws
A soccer match between Egypt and Algeria generated controversy. There was rioting, naturellement, in Marseilles (on November 14, 2009):
La tension entourant la rencontre Egypte-Algérie, comptant pour la qualification au Mondial de foot 2010, a franchi la Méditerranée. Des échauffourées (voir la vidéo de La Provence) ont éclaté dans les rues de Marseille samedi soir dès la fin du match, qui a vu la défaite de l'équipe algérienne 2 à 0. Une centaine de supporters algériens a descendu la Canebière et s'en est pris aux forces de l'ordre rassemblées sur le Vieux port et les quartiers environnants. La foule a jeté des cannettes, des pétards et des fumigènes sur les policiers, qui ont riposté par des tirs de grenades lacrymogènes.
Also, photos and video of violence in Paris after thousands showed up for an asinine money-giveaway publicity stunt. Projectiles thrown, people kicked and beaten. (Text in Flemish.)
Jan. 7-8, 2010: rioting in Rosarno, Italy. White youths attack a group of Africans, Africans rampage in response, says Reuters:
ROSARNO, Italy (Reuters) - Thousands of immigrants protested against racism in a southern Italian town on Friday, after a night of rioting sparked by an attack on African farm workers by a gang of white youths.
In one of Italy's worst episodes of racial unrest in years, dozens of Africans in Rosarno, in the Calabria region, smashed car windows with steel bars and stones and set cars and rubbish bins on fire late into Thursday night.
Police said at least one car was attacked while passengers were inside -- several of whom were injured.
The immigrants, who also blocked a road, clashed with police in riot gear. Police said 7 immigrants were arrested. Thirty-two people, including 18 policemen, were injured.
The incidents took place after white youths in a car fired air rifles at a group of African immigrants returning from work on farms, injuring two of them.
"Those guys were firing at us as if it were a fair ground, they were laughing. I was screaming and there were other cars passing by but nobody stopped, nobody called the police," Kamal, a Moroccan, told La Repubblica newspaper.
On Friday morning some 2,000 immigrants demonstrated in front of the town hall to protest against what they said was racist treatment by many locals. Some shouted "we are not animals" and carried signs reading "Italians here are racist."
Scattered acts of vandalism by immigrants continued on Friday morning as some smashed store windows. Police said that in two separate incidents Rosarno residents had tried to run over immigrants with their cars.
Schools and many shops were closed as tensions remained high. One white resident fired live ammunition in the air from a terrace, local media reported. The situation was calm by early evening, although some feared more violence during the night.
Feb. 13, 2010: South American immigrants kill Egyptian immigrant, N. African immigrants riot in response. In Milan, although it could've been in various places:
MILAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Dozens of immigrants from North Africa rioted during the night in a multi-ethnic district of Milan, smashing shop windows and overturning cars to protest at the knifing death of an Egyptian, Italian police said on Sunday.
It was the second episode of violence involving immigrants this year, after clashes in southern Italy in January brought about the worst racial violence in the country since World War Two and reignited a long-running debate on immigration.
The rioting began on Saturday evening after a 19-year-old Egyptian man, indentified by police as Hamed Mamoud El Fayed Adou, was killed, apparently by a group of immigrants from South America.
Police said the North Africans, most of them Egyptians, went on a rampage and some clashed with police in the northeastern neighbourhood where some 70 percent of shops are owned by immigrants.
Feb. 13, 2010: Shades of the 1920s. BBC video of confrontations in Dresden between Nazis memorializing the Allied bombings of Dresden and their antifa opponents.
April 12-13 2010: At least two nights of rioting, , in Brussels, in response to the death of a young man fleeing from police. From Islam in Europe, transcribing other news reports:
Riots started off in the Brussels suburb of Sint-Gillis Monday night. The incident began at about at around 8pm next to the Bethlehem Square. Several youth set off small fires and threw oil on the square. Calm was restored when the police showed up and occupied the square, but then the incidents began in earnest.
Youth threw stones at the police, turned over cars and set them alight. They also threw Molotov cocktails.
The Brussels-South police department (Anderlecht/Sint-Gillis/Vorst) got reinforcements from nearby departments and the federal police. Calm was restored after midnight.
From DW-World, July 17, 2010, on rioting in Grenoble following a killing by police:
Rioters torched cars, looted shops and shot at police in the French Alpine city of Grenoble Saturday after police shot dead a man who allegedly held up a nearby casino the night before.
The riots began around midnight in the Villeneuve suburb of Grenoble, after a memorial to 27-year-old Karim Boudouda, the alleged robber, who was a Villeneuve resident.
The violence flared when police tried to intervene in the attack of a streetcar held up by brushfire, police spokeswoman Brigette Julien told the AFP news agency. A group of about 30 youths had attacked the tram with baseball bats and iron bars, forcing out passengers.
After police arrived, the youths began burning cars, setting between 50 and 60 vehicles ablaze. Gunfire ensued, with police returning fire four times.
No one was injured in the riots, according to police, who arrested two men aged 18 and 20 for burning cars and three others for attempting to loot shops.