France: Vandals of Vitry

Racism in a Paris suburb

It was a cruel welcome for the 320 black immigrants from the West African nation of Mali. They had just settled into their newly refurbished, five-story government housing project in the southeastern Paris suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine. Then, on Christmas Eve, the quiet of the shabby, working-class district was broken by a raid of angry townspeople. Accompanied by Paul Mercieca, Vitry's Communist mayor, a group of 50 residents and town officials swarmed over the building. They snipped telephone lines, sawed off water pipes, tore hot water heaters off...

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