Paris riots continue following alleged police rape

Angry demonstrators have taken to the streets of the French capital following claims a 22-year-old man was raped and beaten while in police custody

Violent protests have spread throughout the northern suburbs of Paris amid allegations of rape by police officers.

A 22-year-old man has claimed he was raped with a baton and beaten by police while in custody.

Authorities have confirmed that all four officers allegedly involved have been suspended.

However angry demonstrators have taken to the streets of the French capital and dozens of vehicles and a nursery school were reportedly set on fire during standoffs with police.

On Wednesday morning police said they had made 17 arrests.

Aulnay-sous-Bois

The unrest is in the same area where riots in 2005 drew global attention to the contrast between the wealth of the Parisian high street and the suburbs that surround the city.

Police told the Reuters news agency that youths had used a shopping trolley full of petrol bombs during the violence over the past number of days.

The trouble began in towns around Aulnay-sous-Bois on Feb 2nd when four police officers were accused of using excessive force while arresting the 22-year-old man.

The four police officers have been suspended pending an inquiry and one has been placed under formal investigation for suspected rape.

Three others are being investigated for unnecessary use of violence.

Call for calm

The victim, a young black man identified by his first name Theo, has himself called for calm.

Both he and his family have said they trust the justice system will deal properly with the affair.

President Francois Hollande visited the man on Tuesday at the Aulnay hospital.

The 2005 riots, in which 10,000 cars and 300 buildings were set on fire, prompted then interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, to declare a state of emergency.

Political opponents say Sarkozy made matters worse when, as president from 2007 to 2012, he scrapped specialised local police teams and cut police staffing by 10,000.