Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Video of Gare du Nord Riots

Via No Pasaran:

It's French television, but the scenes of mayhem inside the station are easily understood.

Seems that some media outlets are making connections between the thugs involved at the train station rioting and the 2005 Paris riots.
The rampage by youths, many apparently of African or North African descent, at a major rail hub Tuesday became an instant campaign issue in the French presidential race. It was a jarring reminder of the social tensions France's new leader will contend with when he or she takes power in May.

Front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy of the governing right called the violence at the Gare du Nord unacceptable. His main rival, Socialist Segolene Royal, blamed Sarkozy's camp, saying the right's policing policies were an utter failure.

Anger erupted after a 32-year-old man without a Metro ticket punched two inspectors during a routine check, police said. The man, an illegal alien from Congo who has challenged France's efforts to expel him, had been convicted in 2004 for insulting a magistrate, police unions said.

Dozens of youths gathered to defend the man from ticket agents, and the group swelled to 300 people and grew more and more aggressive, police said.

The youths wielded metal bars, smashed windows, looted stores and injured eight train agents and a police officer, police authorities said.

Rail lines connect Gare du Nord to the same troubled suburbs north of Paris that were gripped by rioting in October and November 2005. That violence was born of pent-up anger -- especially among youths of Arab and African origin -- over years of high unemployment, racial discrimination and economic inequality.

Since then, sporadic incidents have broken out in suburbs that many middle-class French people avoid. The violence at Gare du Nord was unusual because it is in the heart of Paris, the terminal for Eurostar trains linking France to Britain.

Far-right presidential candidate Philippe de Villiers, who wants to stop immigration to France, said the violence shows "there are ethnic gangs installed on our territory and who now feel that even the Gare du Nord is theirs."

The check "got out of hand and transformed into urban guerrilla warfare, into unacceptable, intolerable violence," new Interior Minister Francois Baroin told Europe 1 radio. "Nothing can justify what happened."
The check didn't get out of hand. The person being checked got out of hand and the banlieu thugs used it as an excuse to rampage again.

Also, the issue relating to the riots has been a part of the French political scene since the Chirac government was a complete failure to not only contain the rioting, but failed to institute changes to its economic and social policies. Those failures continue to plague the French economy and society, but those behind the rioting must be held accountable for their actions as well.

Fausta has a much more extensive posting on the rioting, which never really ended. The media's coverage of the rioting did.

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