Protesters threw projectiles at police and set cars and rubbish bins ablaze in a bleak area of the Paris suburbs where tensions have risen over alleged police brutality in the arrest of a local man.

A policeman has been placed under formal investigation for suspected rape and three others for unnecessary violence on February 3 during the arrest of the 22-year-old man in Aulnay-sous-Bois outside the French capital.

Cars and rubbish bins were torched last Wednesday and disturbances resumed yesterday.

The Paris police prefecture said some 2000 people gathered peacefully in Bobigny, adjacent to Aulnay-sous-Bois, in support of the arrested man, identified by his first name, Theo, before some in the crowd began hurling crude projectiles at riot police.

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By the time Theo arrived at a French emergency room on February 3, he was covered in blood.

Doctors discovered that Theo's primary injury had been caused by a police truncheon, one that had been forced inside the man's rectum during a violent encounter with multiple officers.

Theo, a French youth worker, maintained that the injury - which required major surgery to repair - was inflicted intentionally.

French investigators decided it was accidental.

While noting that the violent encounter was "very serious," the investigation by France's national police force determined that the incident was "not a rape" because of the "unintentional character" of the penetration, according to Huffington Post's French edition.

Despite those conclusions, French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux announced that one officer faces aggravated rape charges and three others have been charged with aggravated assault, according to the Independent. The men deny the charges and have been suspended from the police force.

- Washington Post, AP