Elite French police arrest five Chechens after Dijon gang violence

France’s elite ‘RAID’ police unit has arrested five Chechens after four nights of gang violence in the city of Dijon, the public prosecutor’s office and a police source said on Thursday.

Trouble first broke out late on Friday when about 100 Chechen youths from across France came to the Dijon suburb of Gresilles to avenge an attack on a Chechen teenager.

Armed police moved in to restore order as the violence spread between rival gangs, authorities said.

Clashes have broken out in recent months in a number of high-rise, low-income housing estates across France, where the strict lockdown rules imposed to tackle the coronavirus have exacerbated social tensions.

Dijon prosecutor Eric Mathias cited allegations that the Chechens had issued a nationwide call for retaliation against the Maghreb community in Gresilles on social media, after blaming them for the initial attack on the Chechen teenager.

Reporting by Myriam Rivet, Jean-Michel Belot, Caroline Pailliez and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Timothy Heritage