November 18, 2005

Beaujolais festivities turn violent

LYON, France (Reuters) - Festivities marking the arrival of
this year's Beaujolais Nouveau turned violent in the
southeastern French city of Grenoble on Friday, when more than
30 people were injured in clashes between students and police.

The overnight disturbance was an isolated incident in a
country that had largely returned to normal after almost three
weeks of rioting by youths angry over unemployment and
discrimination in the suburbs of Paris and other French cities.

Friday's violence broke out after between 2,000 and 3,000
people, mostly students, left bars where they had been
celebrating the arrival of the popular French wine, which
traditionally goes on sale on the third Thursday of November.

Youths attacked firemen called out to attend an injured
person and began to throw missiles at police who arrived to
back up the firemen. Wine bottles were thrown from apartment

"Some of them were very politicized. Drunk on new wine,
they wanted to make a revolution, a 'red Beaujolais'
revolution," Commissioner Jean-Claude Borel Garin, the local
police chief, told Reuters.

About 100 regular police and riot officers faced thousands
of youths, using tear gas and other crowd control measures as
they battled for several hours to restore order.

"We were confronted with a situation of rioting overnight.
The roads were littered with broken glass, it was a real scene
of desolation," said Borel Garin.

About 20 youths and 17 police were hurt in the incident and
21 people were taken in for questioning.