Chechen clashes in Dijon: the anger of local people who felt 'abandoned' by the police

By Nejma Brahim

The normally quiet city of Dijon in east France has recently hit the headlines following an outbreak of extraordinary violence as members of France's Chechen community clashed with residents from local estates. People living in the affected areas have been stunned by the level of violence. Many also say they were abandoned by the police and the authorities and left feeling “worthless”. Nejma Brahim reports.

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“It was staggering, like guerilla warfare,” said Mourad – not his real name – as he took a gulp of his coffee. On the evening of Tuesday June 16th, four days after violent clashes in the city of Dijon made headlines in France and beyond, he still found it hard to come to terms with what had happened. Aged 39, and having been brought up in a rundown city district, he admitted he had never witnessed anything quite like it. “I'm not originally from Grésilles,” he said, referring to the district of Dijon where much of the “guerrilla warfare” took place. “But I've lived here five years. My wife and I came here because of the reduced rents for new-build homes.”