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24.01.2021 Europe

Shock, anger as Paris teen left in coma after brutal gang attack

By Jan van der Made - RFI
LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP
LISTEN JAN 24, 2021
LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP

A 15-year-old boy is in a coma after he was severely beaten in a Paris neighbourhood last week. The incident has triggered a wave of outrage across France and abroad, with sports stars and celebrities expressing their outrage at the attack and support for the victim.

A video shared on social media shows the boy, identified only as Yuriy, being attacked by a mob of hooded men, who hit him repeatedly with a bat and then kicked him as he lay on the ground, in the Javel area in Paris's 15th arrondissement.

Yuriy was walking home from school with a group of friends when they were attacked, his mother Nataliya Kruchenyk told BFMTV news channel. The others managed to run away, but Yuriy fell over and was left alone as the mob continued to beat him.

Police have launched an investigation into attempted intentional homicide.

“They had put him in a fire truck to take him to hospital when I arrived,” Kruchenyk told BFMTV. “He was in a horrible state. They fractured his skull, they broke his arm, a finger, his shoulder and his ribs.

Kruchenyk called on witnesses to come forward so "that no more children would have to go through what he suffered".

Cautiously optimistic

“Yuriy has shown signs of consciousness in hospital, but he's very agitated. The doctors say that's normal,” Kruchenyk told Le Figaro daily. “He's still on a ventilator and hasn't been able to talk. But the doctors are now cautiously optimistic.” 

French sports stars and celebrities took to social media to express their outrage over the attack and support for Yuriy.

“Unbearable images,” FC Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann wrote on Twitter. “Be strong, Yuriy, and get better.”

“I wish you a strong recovery, Yuriy, and I'm thinking of you and yours,” Omar Sy, the star of Netflix crime drama Lupintweeted.

In Spain, former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas tweeted: "What kind of world is this?”

Mounting concern over crime in Paris

“An incredibly savage attack," Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter. "The investigation must bring the perpetrators of this vile act to justice."

“Extremely shocked by the unspeakable attack on Yuriy. All my support to him and his family,” tweeted socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. 

Paris has seen a spike in violent crime in recent years. Figures from 2019, before the Covid-19 lockdowns, showed a 46 percent increase in assault compared with previous years.

Rachida Dati, right-wing mayor of the 7th arrondissement, which borders the 15th, was re-elected last year on a security platform focusing on resurgent crime.

Expressing support for Yuriy and his family, Dati tweeted: “This violence comes from a sense of impunity. It is the track record of the left in the Paris mayor's office," which has been ruled by socialists since 2001.

“We need a stronger police presence,” the mayor of the 15th arrondissement, also from the right-wing Les Républicains party, told news TV station CNEWS.

(with AFP)

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