'We're at war with the police': Cars burn amid clashes in Paris suburbs

French police said they have detained 26 protesters overnight during an eruption of violence against officers in the Paris suburbs in which a police car was torched.

The violence overnight was a show of outrage in support of a young black man who authorities allege was sexually assaulted with a police officer's baton last week during a police operation that targeted drug traffickers.

Several cars were set on fire and blazed through the night, with firefighters racing to limit the damage.

Police Alliance spokesman Frederic Lagache said one police officer narrowly escaped being burned as a protester set his vehicle on fire with a Molotov cocktail.

"The objective is to kill cops and this is unacceptable," Mr Lagache said in an interview with Europe-1.

Anger over the sexual assault allegations has spread across Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb north east of Paris with a large minority population.

Hundreds of people have marched in support of the 22-year-old black man arrested during an identity check.

"Frankly, it's pathetic. The kid, he plays football, he's serious. He never was in any trouble with the police. They arrive and they attack him? It's not normal," said Sofiane Hajjobi, a 21-year-old local resident.

"Now we're at war with the police."

One officer was charged on Sunday with aggravated rape and three others were charged with aggravated assault over the allegations.

AP

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