Posted: December 8, 2012 in News


Were he alive today, Bouna Traoré would be 22. Instead, he’s frozen in French minds at 15.

That was Traoré’s age on Oct. 27, 2005, when he and friend Zyed Benna died of electrocution while fleeing cops. Harassment by the police was common in their rough Clichy-sous-Bois housing project north of Paris, where marginalization, anger and poverty have long festered. Their deaths occurred as they hid in a high-voltage transformer, fleeing police who—as it turns out—were chasing the boys on the logic that if they were running away, they must have been making trouble. The fatalities that resulted after the officers’ ill-fated intervention infuriated locals and set off a powder keg of resentment among Clichy-sous-Bois youths. Their nightly battles with phalanxes of cops set off fires in disaffected suburbs across France—unleashing nearly three-weeks of rioting that left some 10,000 cars burned, hundreds of public buildings damaged, around 3,000…

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