Hundreds of violent thugs took to the streets on Wednesday night near the Barbes Metro station, close to the major transport hub Gare du Nord. Windows were smashed, shops looted, fires lit, main roads blocked, and police cars targeted during the disturbance.
According to Le Figaro, the destruction is getting worse. At the beginning of the week, on the nights of the 12th and 13th, 32 vehicles were burnt out. On the 14th and 15th, some 47 cars were destroyed by fire as well as 59 bins.
Police appeared to have completely lost control at times, with unverified videos surfacing on Twitter of officers being chased out of certain neighbourhoods by rioters.
An officer at the scene said: "Windows have been smashed and officers attacked. Small groups of protesters wearing hoods to hide their identities are causing trouble and then running away.
"Everything is being done to try and disperse the crowds, but this could go on for a long time yet."
There has been heightened tension on the council estates of Paris since the 2nd of February, when a 22-year-old youth worker named Theo was allegedly beaten up and raped with a truncheon by police.
We've seen this sort of violence in Paris before. It doesn't take much to set off the mob, and when the government responds the way it has, the rioters become emboldened.
French President François Hollande has appealed for calm and visited the victim in hospital, where he has undergone emergency surgery. Theo also made a plea from his hospital bed for calm as the attacks continued to spread.
Last week, on the 7th and 8th, riotsoccurred across numerous north-eastern Paris suburbs associated with social deprivation and high immigrant populations, including Tremblay-en-France, Montfermeil, Clichy-sous-Bois, and Villepinte in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, and Blanc-Mesnil in Seine-Maritime.
Whether the police are guilty or not, the government's job is to keep order – not enable the rioters by playing to their grievances.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen is looking to make political hay out of the government's weak response:
"The forces of order are targeted by bands of scoundrels," Ms. Le Pen said calling the situation "a shame for France" on the international stage. "The government is silent. A silence that reflects both its cowardice and its impotence", she added.
So much for the myth that there are no "No Go" neighborhoods in Paris. When the police run away, innocent people like this shop owner pay the price:
Des manifestants pour #Théo détruisent sa bijouterie : dévastée, une commerçante asiatique hurle "C'est ça les Français ?!" et s'évanouit pic.twitter.com/r7mOBlqqoU