Saturday, November 05, 2005

France: Riots: Villepin pirouettes while Paris burns, Sarkozy deploys forces of law and order

Now, some 37 years after the French student riots of May 1968, another round of youth riots has gripped France, evoking the semblance of a civil war of kids against a remarkably well-disciplined police force. Indeed, the police give the impression of being afraid of their own shadow, since allegedly it was the electrocution of two youth fleeing the police and taking refugee in a power station only to fry there, that provided the pretext for the masterminds behind the present conflagragation.

The incidents began in the drab hi-rise "suburbs" (les banlieues) where the French crate in stacks their poorer immigrant families unto the third generation and the twentieth floor, where (said a guy on TV a moment ago) the youth never learn to speak French as a language in its own rite - not a meld element with the family's original Arabic. In contrast to 1968, these youth are not students, and yet neither are they employed. Generalities, to be sure, but typical tho not universal phenomena.

UPDATE: refWrite France Riots #2 > Politics: France & North America: France's Autumn Riots - reverberations for USA, Canada, and Quebec, Nov19,2k5.

As the incidents took to programmatic car-burning "Vehicles torched in French riots," Reuters (unsigned), Fri Nov 4, 2005 (7:39 AM ET), they transformed from seemingly isolated incidents to became full-fledged riots. Still, it seems the police did not attempt to crush the violent crowds. There were no shooting deaths of culprits, no mass arrests, and no leaders sussed out and pounced upon.

As the riots spread beyond the outer banlieues de Paris, other cities and towns and even non-"suburban" areas of the same youth-in-poverty demographic - which it happens is also African, North African, Arabic-language background with mostly an Islamic religous family background: these youth turned the mentioned additional zones too into blazing multi-locationed elements of a hidden system within the chaotic appearance of wild fire. "Fiery riots spread beyond Paris>," CNN,com (unsigned), Friday, November 4, 2005; Posted: 2:54 p.m. EST (19:54 GMT).

At some point, according to Reuters reporter, Tom Heneghan "French government meets as copycat riots spread," Nov5,2k5

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
This being the same guy who thwarted European Union cooperation in the War against Terrorism, the overthrow of Saddam; the guy who kept the lid on French and UN complicity with Saddam in the Oil-for=Food scandal (the world's largest scame ever, in dollar value); and did nothing to establish democracy in Iraq; well, it was this same dandy Villepin who, assembling himself
and other top ministers met with community leaders Saturday in an effort to quell rioting by immigrants which has spread from Paris to other cities. ¶ Tension was high Saturday as the sun set and French police braced for another night of violence. ¶ Police and government officials are struggling to restore order, and debates are raging over how to stop the unrest, which began 10 days ago. ...

Over the past week, more than 2,000 vehicles have been torched, hundreds of people have been arrested, and some police officers have been injured. ¶ Friday night alone, police arrested more than 250 people across France, after rioters attacked paramedics and set a parking complex ablaze, torching some 900 vehicles, according to state radio.
Fox News Channel mentioned a little while ago that the insurrectionists even set a nursery ablaze, a poignant symbol reminiscent of the Iraqi terrorists.
The vandalism has spread to around 20 communities among largely immigrant and Muslim populations frustrated by poverty, high unemployment and what they see as discrimination in French society. In some areas, unemployment is 25 percent. ¶ Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said the government is unanimous in its determination to end the violence and address the problems.

"Once this crisis is overcome and calm is restored, each must also understand that there's also a certain feeling of injustice in some neighborhoods," Sarkozy said, according to a translation from Reuters. "I have thought this for a long time, and said it as well."

There have been calls by the Green Party and the Communist Party for Sarkozy to resign, after he called the rioters "scum" earlier in the week -- language that served only to inflame the vandalism.
A second nursery has been set ablaze!

Despite Sarkozy's frustrated use of the French equivalent of "scum" and "rabble," he is the leader on whom the major responsiblity descends and in regard to whom most citizens hope for effective leadership to end the insurrection. "We will be firm," Sarkozy said today. He had been a leading candidate for President in the next round of French elections. He believes in freedeom of religion, and has critiqued France's government-cult of secularism. He is not an enemy of Islam, Judaism, or Christianity - tho he himself is "nonconfessional." - Politicarp

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