Muslim protesters attacked riot police in the Paris suburb of Trappes after police stopped a woman for wearing a full-face veil, which has been banned by law in France since 2010.
The riots began with a confrontation that resulted in a police station being surrounded by about 250 protesters, many throwing rocks. Another building was set on fire during the violence.
France has officially banned any item of clothing that covers the face while in public, which includes the burqa and niqab, worn by some Muslim women. Women found guilty of wearing veils in public can be fined the equivalent of 150 euros and be forced to attend citizenship classes.
Jean-Marc Galland, a senior official for Yvelines region, told Reuters, "The disturbances are related to the arrest of a man who objected to his wife being arrested for wearing a veil. When her husband reacted in a hostile fashion, insulting and hitting policemen, he was taken into custody."
Prosecutor Vincent Lesclous told reporters that the man had in fact tried to strangle a police officer.
In the initial riots, four police officers were injured and six rioters were arrested, while a 14-year-old boy suffered a serious eye injury from a projectile, police said. The riots continued through the weekend with most areas calm on Monday.
YouTube videos showed demonstrators hurling dangerous items at a police station, while a number of garbage bins were set on fire. Around a dozen vans carrying riot police were sent to the area, and a helicopter was dispatched to carry out surveillance of the town.