It seems the heat of this summer is spreading in more ways than one, as – hot on the heels of the burning of a pro-Palestinian bookshop in Paris and the hushed coverage of the murder of Marwa al-Sherbini – the French town of Ferminy, near St Etienne, is bracing itself for another night of riots.
Anger centers around the suicide verdict recorded by French authorities after 21-year-old Mohamed Benmouna died in police custody.
Arrested on extortion charges, the post-mortem recorded that Benmouna died after hanging himself from the plasterboard in his cell on Tuesday.
As Benmouna lay in a coma youths set fire to cars and a community center, triggering fears that a return to the street violence of 2005 was imminent.
Last night around 200 youths were dispersed after a sit-in, followed by the burning of a dozen vehicles and the mobilization of 200 police.
More worrying is that Benmouna’s death brings the total deaths in the police cells and prisons of France this year to 78.
It’s a staggering figure, particularly as the deaths are consistently attributed to suicide.
The conclusion that no violence was traced in the demise of Benmouna pales in relevance; rather, the rise in anti-Palestinian/Arab/Islamic sentiments could render it a further expedient to the already tense atmosphere.