Crowds of youths have thrown stones at French police and set fire to cars in a second night of disturbances in the Paris suburb of Trappes.
The trouble was sparked by the arrest of a man whose wife was told by police on Thursday to remove an Islamic face-covering veil, banned in public.
He has been accused of trying to strangle the officer.
Up to 300 people attacked a police station in Trappes on Friday night where the man was being held.
One leading Muslim group disputed the authorities’ version of events, blaming police “provocation”.
The suspect, described as a Muslim convert aged 21, was later released on Saturday pending an appearance in court, French media say.
The ban on wearing the full face veil in public was introduced in April 2011 with the threat of a financial penalty for not observing it.
‘Beginning to spread’
Reinforcements from the CRS riot police were drafted in and Interior Minister Manuel Valls said they would remain in place until calm was restored. Thirty riot police vehicles were seen outside the Trappes police station.
In the latest violence which erupted in Trappes and several neighbouring areas, bus-shelters and cars were torched and fireworks directed at police, who responded with tear gas and baton charges.
The worst of the trouble took place in the early hours of Sunday. In one reported incident, a car was driven at police but no-one was hurt.
“It’s beginning to spread to surrounding areas - Elancourt and Guyancourt,” David Callu of the SGP police officers’ union told BFM-TV news channel.
Some 20 cars have been torched and four people detained in a second night of violence in suburbs west of Paris.
France’s interior minister said Sunday that the incidents overnight targeted the town of Elancourt.
Police union official said on BFM television that about 50 assailants were involved, some firing weapons and a gasoline bomb at police.
The night before, about 250 people hurling projectiles clashed with police firing tear gas in the nearby town of Trappes in apparent protest over the enforcement of France’s ban on Islamic face veils. Five people were injured and six detained in the violence, authorities said Saturday.
The interior minister urged calm and dialogue, insisting on both the need for public order and respect for France’s Muslims. The incident in the town of Trappes on Friday night reflected sporadic tensions between police upholding France’s strict policies of secularism and those who accuse authorities of discriminating against France’s No. 2 religion.
France has barred face veils since 2011. Proponents of the ban — which enjoyed wide public support across the political spectrum — argue the veil oppresses women and contradicts France’s principles of secularism, which are enshrined in the constitution. In addition to small fines or citizenship classes for women wearing veils, the law includes a hefty 30,000 euro ($39,370) fine for anyone who forces a woman to wear one.
The law affects only a very small proportion of France’s millions of Muslims who wear the niqab, with a slit for the eyes, or the burqa, with a mesh screen for the eyes. But some Muslim groups argue the law stigmatizes moderate Muslims, too. France also bans headscarves in schools and public buildings…
Police argue they are doing their jobs and that veiled women are breaking a well-known law.
Trappes was among many towns around France that saw rioting in 2005 by disillusioned youth in neglected housing projects, many with origins in former French colonies in North and West Africa.