Teenagers arrested in Switzerland after violence inspired by French riots

Six teenagers were arrested following unrest in the Swiss city of Lausanne inspired by the riots in France, Swiss police said Sunday, after more than a hundred youths damaged shops in the city center.

Although nowhere near the scale of the violence in France, stones were thrown and show windows were smashed in Lausanne on Saturday evening, with a sneaker store particularly affected.

Besides the six youths, an adult was also arrested in the French-speaking Swiss city.

France saw a fifth night of rioting overnight — in which more than 700 were arrested — sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old during a traffic stop.

“Echoing the events and riots raging in France, more than a hundred youths gathered in central Lausanne and damaged businesses,” the Lausanne police said in a statement.

The violence began “following several calls on social media,” police said, and “several shop windows were smashed.”

“On multiple occasions, police officers had to disperse aggressive, hooded youths throwing cobblestones and a Molotov cocktail at them.”

Around 50 police officers were deployed, and none were injured.

The arrested were three girls, aged 15 or 16 — a Bosnian, a Portuguese and a Somali national; three boys aged 15 to 17 — a Swiss, a Georgian and a Serbian national; and a Swiss man aged 24.

A police investigation has been launched.

“Quite clearly, what emerges from what we have seen is that these young people during the night were inspired by the situation in France,” a Lausanne police spokesman told AFP.

Pierre-Antoine Hildbrand, the Lausanne councilor holding the security brief, told Swiss public broadcaster RTS that “Nothing justifies these organized attempts to loot shops.”

“We did not have the start of a demonstration… We are facing people who organize themselves to break windows and seize goods,” he said.

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