Hundreds of French riot police were deployed on Wednesday night to help quell the violence in tense Paris suburb of Villiers Le Bel, after the death of two boys in a motorcycle accident triggered violent clashes last week. Despite isolated incidents of a few burning cars, the suburb returned to a general calm as security and law enforcement increased their presence. French officials pointed to a host of causes in the eruption – including poverty, unemployment, the influence of criminal gangs, and racism. Most of the rioters come from immigrant and Muslim backgrounds, and while most of them are simply described as youth, their vulnerability to poor living conditions is of significant concern. Anger and distrust over racial profiling fuel already brewing tensions in many of Paris’ suburbs.

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