Thursday, November 29, 2007

Despite Police Presence, French Riots Continue For Fourth Night

Despite the larger police presence, rioting continued in the Paris suburbs for a fourth night.
Wednesday was the fourth night of unrest that on prior nights resulted in violent clashes between angry youths and police, and the burning of buildings and cars from the Paris suburbs to the southern city of Toulouse.

No injuries to police were reported, Laurente Wittek, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry, told CNN. She said Thursday that there had been a "clear reduction" in the rioting.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to punish those responsible for shooting at police. Sarkozy met Wednesday with the families of the youths on the motorcycle who were killed.

The worst bouts of violence were Monday and Tuesday nights, when police made arrests in the northern Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, where the collision occurred.

In Toulouse, 20 cars were burned and rioters set fire to two libraries on Tuesday.

"There were some problems but we can say that it was much better than previous says," Wittek said.
Note that they're not exactly stating what happened, only that it was supposedly better than previous nights.

No-Pasaran points to another death that may or may not be connected with the rioting from Sunday night on one of the commuter train lines that run into the suburbs. That woman's murder doesn't get coverage, despite the brutality of it.

Should it surprise anyone that Sarkozy's ratings slipped? It shouldn't, and while the headline is trying to put it on the riots, there are also strikes to contend with, and Sarkozy is trying to reshape the economic landscape of France, and that has many entrenched interests upset.

Sarkozy does get points in my book by calling the riots hooliganocracy, instead of blaming it on the social woes in the banlieues.
For the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, the weekend's clashes in the banlieue of Paris "have nothing to do with a social crisis" but are an attempt for "hooliganocracy". In a speech on security to 2,000 policemen, he had harsh words for the wave of hooliganism and attacks on policemen (120 injured) following the death of two boys in Villiers sur Bel last Sunday: "I reject all attempts to make any criminal look like a victim of society and any revolt as a social problem". "If we allow a hooligan to be turned into a hero of the quarter" he warned "we are insulting the Republic and our work". Sarkozy defended the hard line taken against the chaos in the outskirts, already started when he was minister of the interior, in 2002: "This determined action is having its effect" he assured.
Meanwhile, the German Interior Minister warned that the rioting might spread beyond Paris and its suburbs, and Germany was on alert to that possibility. A Turkish leader in Germany made veiled threats about just that if social concerns of Turks aren't addressed.
... Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Association in Berlin and Brandenburg, told Spiegel Online that Berlin must improve its efforts to integrate immigrants, and warned that "copycat" incidents could occur in Germany.

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