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What is going on in Paris?

By Garion11 ·
Civil Mayhem Rocks France for 12th Night

By JOCELYN GECKER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 48 minutes ago

PARIS - France will impose curfews under a state-of-emergency law and call up police reservists to stop rioting that has spread out of Paris' suburbs and into nearly 300 cities and towns across the country, the prime minister said Monday, calling a return to order "our No. 1 responsibility."

The tough new measures came as France's worst civil unrest in decades entered a 12th night, with rioters in the southern city of Toulouse setting fire to a bus after sundown after ordering passengers off, and elsewhere pelting police with gasoline bombs and rocks and torching a nursery school.

Outside the capital in Sevran, a junior high school was set ablaze, while in another Paris suburb, Vitry-sur-Seine, youths threw gasoline bombs at a hospital, police said. No one was injured. Earlier, a 61-year-old retired auto worker died of wounds from an attack last week, the first death in the violence.

Asked on TF1 television whether the army should be brought in, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said, "We are not at that point."

But "at each step, we will take the necessary measures to re-establish order very quickly throughout France," he said. "That is our prime duty: ensuring everyone's protection."

The recourse to curfews followed the worst overnight violence so far, and foreign governments warned their citizens to be careful in France. Apparent copycat attacks took place outside France, with five cars torched outside the main train station in Brussels, Belgium. German police were investigating the burning of five cars in Berlin.

National police spokesman Patrick Hamon said there was a "considerable decrease" in the number of incidents overnight into Tuesday in the Paris region.

Nationwide vandals burned 814 cars overnight compared to 1,400 vehicles a night earlier, according to national police figures. A total of 143 people were arrested down from 395 the night before.

The violence started Oct. 27 among youths in a northeastern Paris suburb angry over the accidental deaths of two teenagers but has grown into a nationwide insurrection.

The mayhem is forcing France to confront anger building for decades in neglected suburbs and among the French-born children of Arab and black African immigrants. The teenagers whose deaths sparked the rioting were of Mauritanian and Tunisian descent. They were electrocuted as they hid from police in a power substation, apparently thinking they were being chased.

President Jacques Chirac, in private comments more conciliatory than his warnings Sunday that rioters would be caught and punished, acknowledged in a meeting Monday with Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga that France has not integrated immigrant youths, she said.

Chirac deplored the "ghettoization of youths of African or North African origin" and recognized "the incapacity of French society to fully accept them," said Vike-Freiberga.

France "has not done everything possible for these youths, supported them so they feel understood, heard and respected," Chirac added, noting that unemployment runs as high as 40 percent in some suburbs, four times the national rate, according to Vike-Freiberga.

In violence Monday, vandals burned churches, schools and businesses, and injured 36 police officers in clashes around the country, setting a new high for arson and violence, said France's national police chief, Michel Gaudin.

"This spread, with a sort of shock wave spreading across the country, shows up in the number of towns affected," Gaudin said.

In terms of material destruction, the unrest is France's worst since World War II ? and never has rioting struck so many different French cities simultaneously, said security expert Sebastian Roche, a director of research at the state-funded National Center for Scientific Research.

Villepin said curfews will be imposed under a 1955 law that allows the declaring of a state of emergency in parts or all of France. The law was passed to curb unrest in Algeria during the war that led to its independence.

He said 1,500 reservists were being called up to reinforce the 8,000 police and gendarmes already deployed. The Cabinet will meet Tuesday to authorize curfews "wherever it is necessary," he said.

"The multiplying acts of destruction, the destruction of schools and sports centers, thousands of cars set on fire, all of this is unacceptable and inexcusable," he said. "To all in France who are watching me, who are disturbed by this, who are shocked, who want to see a return to normalcy, a return to security, the state's response ? I say it tonight forcefully ? will be firm and just."

Villepin said "organized criminal networks" are backing the violence and youths taking part are treating it as a "game," trying to outdo each other. He did not rule out the possibility that radical Islamists are involved, saying: "That element must not be neglected." France's community of Muslims, at some 5 million, is western Europe's largest.

Local government officials will be able to impose curfews "if they think it will be useful to permit a return to calm and ensure the protection of residents. That is our No. 1 responsibility," the prime minister said.

A Socialist opposition leader, Francois Hollande, said his party would closely watch to make sure the curfew law is applied properly.

"This law cannot be applied everywhere, and it cannot be long-lasting," Hollande said. He said Villepin should have put more emphasis on improving life in tough neighborhoods and said the premier's proposals were vague.

Villepin said he wanted to speed up a $35.5 billion urban redevelopment plan, triple the number of merit scholarships for talented students and offer jobs, training or internships to disadvantaged young people.

"We must offer them hope and a future," he said.

But nearly 600 people were in custody Monday night, and fast-track trials were being used to punish rioters.

France's biggest Muslim fundamentalist organization, the Union for Islamic Organizations of France, issued a religious decree against the violence. It prohibited all those "who seek divine grace from taking part in any action that blindly strikes private or public property or can harm others."

The first fatality was identified as 61-year-old Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec. He was trying to extinguish a trash can fire Friday at his housing project in the northeastern Paris suburb of Stains when an attacker caught him by surprise and beat him into a coma, police said.

"They have to stop this stupidity," his widow, Nicole, told Associated Press Television News of the rioting. "It's going nowhere."


Associated Press Writers John Leicester, Angela Doland and D'Arcy Doran contributed to this report from Paris.

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5 million Muslims

by jardinier In reply to What is going on in Paris ...

A couple of years ago a friend suggested to me that France would one day become a Muslim country. I thought he was troppo because I didn't realise just how large was the Muslim population of France.

Now we see: "France's community of Muslims, at some 5 million, is western Europe's largest."

As the article states, the welfare of Muslim African immigrants and the offspring of such people has been largely ignored or overlooked.

So I see it as a pot that has been simmering for quite a while and it just took a single incident (the straw that broke the camel's back) "accidental deaths of two teenagers" to make it boil over.

So I guess you could say that it is a socio-economic issue rather than a purely racist issue which has developed from ignoring or failing to deal with a potentially explosive situation.

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French Revolution

by ITgirli In reply to What is going on in Paris ...
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I wonder how long It'll be before the French . . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to What is going on in Paris ...


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How do you...

by ITgirli In reply to I wonder how long It'll b ...

spot the French on the battlefield?

They're the ones wearing the running shoes!

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by beads In reply to I wonder how long It'll b ...

About the time that Chirac looses his head - the "old fashinoned way".

Let them eat cake, I say! Viva la Frogs'!!

- beads

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Daily show fan?

by Dr Dij In reply to I wonder how long It'll b ...

that's what they said on daily show (spoof show about real news on comedy channel), making fun of France.

Geez that was funny show last nite. (on again at 8pm tonite rerun): [paris newscaster, translated to english, watching a car burn:]

The fire she burns with the fertility of her inner soul.. (or something like that with the french waxing poetic about it)

So you're not uptight? I thought it would be too 'liberal' for you.. Well Rob Cordry is a Republican I think..

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They Already Did

by jdgretz In reply to I wonder how long It'll b ...

They just don't realize it yet.

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The first fatality

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to What is going on in Paris ...

Didn't this kick off after the deaths of two kids ?
Let loads of foreigners in your country treat them like 2nd class merde. Stand back and wait for the bang

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2nd class

by jdclyde In reply to The first fatality

They treated them that good?

40% unemployment in the black communities. Good thing we don't have racism THAT bad in the US.

And this is the culture that WE are suppose to be envious of? pfff!

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Discrimination or laziness?

by M_a_r_k In reply to 2nd class

I don't know that these yokels have a 40% unemployment rate due to discrimination. I'd be more inclined to think that their culture and religion do not allow them to assimilate and get real jobs. ****, how could they stand to actually take orders 40 hours a week from an infidel? Or worse, from an infidel CHRISTIAN?? And look at the unemployment rate all across the Middle East. It is well over 40% in every country.

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