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Thread: Paris Riots Spreading

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Paris Riots Spreading


    4.11.2005. 18:34:50

    Rioting around Paris has worsened with gangs attacking police and firefighters in defiance of a government vow to crackdown on the violence, which has plagued the capital for over a week.

    Fresh rioting broke out on the outskirts of Paris — in the city's poorest and mainly immigrant suburbs — for the eighth straight night on Thursday.

    Around 1,300 police officers were mobilised in the north-eastern suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, while more than 30 people were arrested in the area.

    Buses, fire engines and police were stoned and five policemen were reported injured.

    Police said more than 160 cars were torched overnight in the Paris region and 33 in the provinces, a day after around 315 vehicles were burnt in the city’s Ile-de-France region.

    One of the worst incidents took place at Neuilly-sur-Marne where police vans came under fire from pellet pistols, but nobody was reported hurt.

    A fire was started in a primary school in Stains, as police were targeted by a group of 30 to 40 people near a synagogue.

    Paris firemen were called to fight a blaze at a carpet warehouse in Aulnay-sous-Bois in Seine-Saint-Denis.

    Traffic was halted on a suburban commuter line which links Paris to Charles de Gaulle airport after stone-throwing rioters attacked two trains.

    The clashes have gained territory every night since they began last Thursday, exposing what critics say is a failure of the government to address the problems of low-income, high-immigration suburbs where crime and gangs run rampant.

    In a worrying sign similar rampages broke out elsewhere in France.

    Police said several cars in the eastern city of Dijon were set alight, while similar attacks took place in the western Seine-Maritime region and the Bouches-du-Rhone in the south of the country.

    Government defiant
    French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who cancelled a trip to Canada to tackle the crisis, said the violence was "unacceptable".

    He vowed that authorities would not give in to the violence and would make restoring order their "absolute top priority".

    "I will not allow organised gangs to make the law in the suburbs," he said.

    President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday called for calm, warning that an escalation would be "dangerous".

    The riots were sparked last week by the accidental electrocution of two teenagers who had hidden in an electrical sub-station to escape a police identity check in Clichy-sous-Bois.

    A preliminary report released by the interior ministry on Thursday appeared to exonerate police of any direct role in the teenagers' deaths.

    But as the unrest continued the opposition Socialist Party and many in the suburbs themselves blamed the hardline policies of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy for fanning the violence.

    Mr Sarkozy, who on Thursday said the total number of people arrested was over 140, vowed a "war without mercy" on crime and rebellious youths in the suburbs just before the rampages erupted.

    The conservative minister, who has ambitions of running for president in two years, has drawn criticism for his tough rhetoric, especially for referring to delinquents as "rabble".

    On Thursday, he claimed that recent rioting "was not spontaneous, it was perfectly organised — we are looking into by whom and how."

    Low income suburbs
    France has 751 neighbourhoods officially classed as severely disadvantaged, housing a total of five million people, around eight percent of the population.

    The recent violence has exposed simmering discontent in those suburbs where African and Muslim immigrants and their French-born children are trapped by poverty, unemployment, racial discrimination, crime and poor education and housing.

    Unemployment is these areas is often twice the national rate of 10 percent, and per capita incomes 40 percent below the national average.

    Thursday night was the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a night traditionally marked by feasts and family get-togethers.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Partridge Guest
    Widening anti-police riots provoke government crisis

    World Socialist Web Site

    Nightly riots and clashes in the Paris suburbs, between the police and youth mainly of North African and African descent, are entering their second week. A thousand police officers were deployed Wednesday night in Seine-Saint-Denis, northwest of Paris, and half of the department’s 40 towns were affected by violence. Shots have been fired at police officers, and one official spokesman described events as a descent into civil war.

    The conflicts have provoked a severe crisis for the French government. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has cancelled a scheduled visit to Canada, and Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy has pulled out of a visit to Afghanisan and Pakistan. Emergency meetings of the government of de Villepin and President Jacques Chirac have been held to discuss the situation.

    The rioting began on the evening of October 27 after two youth were electrocuted when they climbed onto an electrical transformer while fleeing from the police. The deaths of the boys, in the northern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, sparked confrontations between youth and 400 to 500 riot police dispatched by Sarkozy. Violent protests and clashes with armed riot police have continued every night since and have spread to other working class suburbs.

    The eruptions are the product of desperate poverty, mass unemployment and a vicious, openly racist law-and-order campaign spearheaded by Sarkozy, who has been considered the main rival to Chirac within the Gaullist Union for a Popular Party (UMP) and the leading contender to replace him in the next presidential election. Sarkozy has sent armed police into the immigrant slums and used terms such as “scum” and “gangrene” to describe their inhabitants.

    On Wednesday, a council of ministers meeting was held, as well as a meeting of Gaullist deputies to the National Assembly. A question session was held in the National Assembly, at which Socialist Party and Communist Party deputies criticised Sarkozy, who sat mute. The deputies blamed him for instigating a social explosion through his law-and-order policies and provocative statements. De Villepin answered for him, trying to present a united government front. However, it was widely reported that deputies at the closed Gaullist meeting had heatedly attacked Sarkozy.

    At the council of ministers, Chirac asked for a plan for urban renovation to be accelerated. He relieved Sarkozy of his responsibility for the preparation of the plan to prevent delinquency and entrusted it to de Villepin, who thereupon announced that he would be working for “equal opportunities” and “a plan of action” for youth employment in Seine-Saint-Denis, the department where Clichy and many other such communities are concentrated and the scene of a dozen outbreaks since October 27. De Villepin is Sarkozy’s most likely rival for the presidency in 2007.

    The provocative language used by Sarkozy against the youth on suburban housing estates has been part of his attempt to mobilise a right-wing and racist movement under his leadership and that of the UMP. He hoped that this would not only secure his succession as president, but also provide popular support for the attacks on the working class required to break its resistance to the destruction of the welfare state and labour rights.

    Since the beginning of the present government’s term of office in 2002, Sarkozy has led a drive to diminish the rights of defendants and extend police powers. He set up special brigades of police to send into troubled estates.

    This has gone hand in hand with media campaigns demonising the immigrant youth and whipping up anti-Muslim sentiment, at the centre of which was legislation outlawing the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in state schools—a measure passed in 2004 with the support of virtually the entire political establishment, including the Socialist Party.

    More than 20 years of austerity policies and accelerating attacks on workers’ living standards and rights by successive governments—those headed by the official “left” parties as well as those of the right wing—have stretched social tensions to the breaking point.

    The chronic national 10 percent unemployment rate rises to well over 50 percent on many Parisian estates. The Gaullist government’s policy of encouraging job insecurity and short-term work contracts has been made more unbearable by savage cuts in benefits for the unemployed. Rises in gas and petrol prices have further increased the economic pressure on these communities.

    The mass reaction on the night of the tragedy on the Chêne-Pointu estate has spilled over into many other estates in the Paris suburbs, in recent days involving small groups of youth burning vehicles and rubbish bins, attacking firemen attempting to extinguish the fires, and constantly clashing with the police.

    The government fears that the Paris riots could spark broader upheavals all over France. Not only the towns in the Seine-Saint-Denis department have been affected, but also estates in the Val d’Oise and the Yvelines deparments of greater Paris.

    Tensions were heightened still further when a tear gas canister was fired into a mosque on October 31. The following night, 1,250 cars were reported burned and at least one primary school was trashed.

    Already, the Ousse des Bois estate in Pau, a thousand kilometres away near the Spanish border, has seen three continuous nights of clashes between youth and the police.

    Despite the concern expressed within ruling circles, there is unanimity on the need for ever-greater repression to deal with the unrest. Minister for Social Cohesion Jean-Louis Borloo said the government had to react “firmly,” while UMP deputy Jacques Myard complained that the government had been weak because it had “accepted, step-by-step, that every night youths burn cars, destroy business and so on. Those guys will use the pretext of everything to riot, to demonstrate, to destroy.”

    While making a show of criticising Sarkozy’s excesses and calling for the beefing up of social services cut by the government, all of the currents of the Socialist Party, the Greens and the Communist Party have called for the police to suppress the rioting.

    Dominique Strauss Khan of the Socialist Party, a former minister in Lionel Jospin’s Plural Left government (1997-2002) and contender for the party’s nomination for the 2007 presidential election, stated on Europe 1 radio, “I utterly condemn the incidents at Clichy-sous-Bois. When it comes to law and order, an extremely firm attitude is required...repression and prevention should be employed.”

    The Socialist Party and the Communist Party have presided over many of these municipalities for decades and maintained the peace for the French ruling class, while conditions have eroded. They are complicit in the austerity policies and the police build-up that underlie the explosion of anger among oppressed and impoverished youth that is now shaking France.

  3. #3
    beltman713 Guest

    Police Find Fuel Bomb Factory Near Paris

    Police Find Fuel Bomb Factory Near Paris

    Nov 6, 9:27 AM (ET)


    (AP) The wreckage of a burned down gymnasium in Noisy-le Grand, east of Paris, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005. ...

    PARIS (AP) - Worsening urban unrest reached central Paris for the first time early Sunday and youths set ablaze shops, businesses, schools and nearly 1,300 cars from France's Mediterranean resort towns to the German border.

    Some 2,300 police poured into the Paris region to bolster security overnight while firefighters moved out around the city to douse blazing vehicles. Police reported nearly 200 arrests nationwide.

    Police also found a gasoline bomb-making factory in a rundown building in Evry, a southern Paris suburb that contained 150 explosives, more than 100 bottles, gallons of fuel and hoods for hiding rioters' faces, Jean-Marie Huet, a senior Justice Ministry official, said Sunday.

    For the second night in a row, a helicopter equipped with spotlights and video cameras to track bands of marauding youths combed the Paris suburbs from the air and small teams of police were deployed to chase down rioters speeding from one attack to another in cars and on motorbikes.

    The violence took a potentially alarming turn with attacks in the well-guarded French capital. Police said 32 cars were set afire there, mostly on the northern and southern edges of the city.

    Inside the city, three cars were damaged by fire from gasoline bombs near the Place de la Republique neighborhood, where residents said they heard a loud explosion and saw flames shooting into the sky.

    "We were very afraid," said Annie Partouche, 55, who had watched the cars burning from her apartment window. "We were afraid to leave the building."

    The violence - originally concentrated in northeastern suburbs of Paris with large immigrant populations - is forcing France to confront anger long-simmering in the neighborhoods, where many Arab and African Muslim immigrants live on society's margins, struggling with unemployment, poor housing, racial discrimination, crime and a lack of opportunity.

    Unrest spread Saturday night across France, extending west to the rolling fields of Normandy and south to Nice and Cannes on the Mediterranean coast.

    (AP) Youths look at the wreckage of a burned down gymnasium in Noisy-le Grand, east of Paris, Sunday,...

    The Normandy town of Evreux, 60 miles west of Paris, appeared to suffer the worst damage. Arsonists burned at least 50 vehicles, part of a shopping center, a post office and two schools, said Patrick Hamon, spokesman for the national police.

    Five police officers and three firefighters were injured in clashes with youths in the town, Hamon said.

    "Rioters attacked us with baseball bats," Philippe Jofres, a deputy fire chief from the area told France-2 television. "We were attacked with pickaxes. It was war."

    Fires also were reported in Nantes in the southwest, the Lille region in the north, and Saint-Dizier in the Ardennes region east of Paris. In the eastern city of Strasbourg near the German border, 18 cars were set ablaze, police said.

    Seven classrooms went up in flames in the Essonne region south of Paris.

    (AP) People look at the wreckage of a burned down gymnasium in Noisy-le Grand, east of Paris, Sunday,...

    The number of cars torched overnight - 1,295 across France - was the highest since the violence began Oct. 27, France-Info radio and other French media reported. Police, who earlier put the number at 918, did not immediately confirm the figure.

    The night before, 900 vehicles were burned throughout the country.

    The rioting began 10 days ago after two teenagers of north African descent were accidentally electrocuted as they hid in a power substation, apparently believing police were chasing them. Anger was then fanned anew days ago when a tear gas bomb exploded in a mosque in Clichy-sous-Bois - the northern suburb where the youths died.

    Government officials have held a series of meetings with Muslim religious leaders, local officials and youths from poor suburbs to try to calm the violence.

    The director of the Great Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, one of the country's leading Muslim figures, met Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on Saturday and urged the government to choose its words carefully and send a message of peace.

    (AP) The kitchen and counter of a McDonald's fast food restaurant lies wrecked in Corbeil-Essonnes,...

    "In such difficult circumstances, every word counts," Boubakeur said.

    The anger over the deaths of the teenagers spread to the Internet, with sites mourning the youths.

    Along with messages of condolence and appeals for calm were insults targeting police, threats of more violence and warnings that the unrest will feed support for France's anti-immigration extreme right.

    Arsonists have also burned grocery stores, video stores and other businesses in what Hamon called "copycat" crimes. "All these hoodlums see others setting fires and say they can do it, too."

    France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe with 5 million people.


    Associated Press writers John Leicester, Jamey Keaten and Emmanuel Guillemain d'Echon contributed to this report.

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