Friday, November 11, 2005

Ahhhh, Paris in the fall ...

A collection of news reports tell a compelling story...

PARIS (AP) - Authorities imposed curfews in the French Riviera cities of Nice and Cannes on Wednesday to prevent rioting, while the interior minister called for the deportation of foreigners convicted in the wave of unrest that has spread throughout France.

Looters and vandals defied a state of emergency with attacks on superstores, a newspaper warehouse and a subway station. Arson attacks continued after sundown, with a nursery school going up in flames in the southern city of Toulouse, RTL radio reported.

.. Take that, kiddies!

The unrest began Oct. 27 and has grown into a nationwide insurrection by disillusioned suburban youths who complain of discrimination and unemployment. Although many of the French-born children of Arab and black African immigrants are Muslim, police say the violence is not being driven by Islamic groups.

.. OK, if Islamic groups aren't driving it, who is? SANTA?

The extraordinary 12-day state of emergency, which began at midnight Tuesday, covered Paris, its suburbs and more than 30 other French cities from the Mediterranean to the border with Germany and to Rouen in the north - an indication of how widespread arson, riots and other unrest have become.

The measures imposed in Nice also require some bars to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the next 10 days, the regional government said.

.. no way, man, not the bars too!!

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who previously inflamed passions by referring to troublemakers as "scum," said 120 foreigners have been convicted for roles in the violence, and he called on local authorities to expel them.

"I have asked regional prefects to expel foreigners who were convicted - whether they have proper residency papers or not - without delay," he said during a National Assembly session.

.. If they really want to get serious about restoring order, they'd better invite the Wehrmacht.

"Protestors set fire to 315 cars in the Paris area overnight, half of them in Seine-Saint-Denis, where nine people were injured, officials said.

Simone: Your jacket!
Clouseau: Yes, I kneaw it iz my jacket.
Simone: No... It's on fire!

"The violence has once more trained a spotlight on the poverty and lawlessness of France's rundown big-city suburbs and raises questions about an immigration policy that has, in effect, created sink ghettos for mainly African minorities who suffer from discrimination in housing, education and jobs.

Today, France's government was in crisis mode with Mr de Villepin calling a string of emergency meetings with government officials throughout the day.

One was a working lunch with the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been accused of inflaming the crisis with his tough talk and police tactics. Mr Sarkozy has called troublemakers "scum" and vowed to "clean out" troubled suburbs, language that some say further alienated their residents [...hmmm... I guess he forgot to call for their total eradication. ]
The unrest was triggered by last Thursday's accidental death in Clichy-sous-Bois, five miles from Aulnay, of two African teenagers who were electrocuted while hiding in a power substation from what they believed, apparently wrongly, was police pursuit. An interior ministry official described the clashes as "more like sporadic harassment, lightweight hit-and-run urban guerrilla fighting, than head-to-head confrontation". Small, highly mobile groups of up to a dozen youths emerge, hurl stones or petrol bombs, and disperse. "It's hard to contain," the official said.

The minister of social cohesion, Jean-Louis Borloo, said the government had to react "firmly" but added that France must also acknowledge its failure to deal with anger simmering in poor suburbs for decades.

"We cannot hide the truth: that for 30 years we have not done enough," he told France-2 television.

Fran?ois: Do you know what kind of a bomb it was?
Clouseau: Yes, the exploding kind


Paris, City of Light

PARIS — The French government declared a state of emergency Tuesday, enabling police to impose curfews and other extraordinary measures to combat the worst riots in recent history.

President Jacques Chirac's Cabinet decided at a special meeting to invoke an emergency powers law first imposed during the Algerian war of independence against France 50 years ago. Starting at midnight, the authorities had the right to declare curfews in targeted areas, restrict the movement of people and vehicles, request police searches and place suspects under house arrest. "

... "Too little, too late" again, Jacques. How's that workin for ya?


Better late than never, France ?

PARIS (AP) - The French government declared a state of emergency Tuesday after nearly two weeks of rioting, and the prime minister said the nation faced a "moment of truth."

The extraordinary security measures, to begin Wednesday and valid for 12 days, clear the way for curfews to try to halt the country's worst civil unrest since the student uprisings of 1968.

... and after only 12 days!


Very slow learners, these French...

PARIS (AP) - 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 or what passes for tough there... 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 and pelting police with gasoline bombs and rocks.

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." meaning "my car has not firebombed yet"

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

...Oh, please.


French discovering the Awful Truth: Self-inflicted Wounds are Always the Most Painful

What catches many French leaders in a bind is their belief that the alternative to their strong state intervening to ensure color-blind equality is the cut-throat capitalism and ethnic segregation they say prevails in English-speaking countries.

When Sarkozy says the best social system is the one that produces jobs and that the French model is not doing that, his comments are met not with approval but retorts that the French model is fine and needs only to be better applied.

In a scene that spoke volumes, National Assembly Speaker Jean-Louis Debre -- a close Chirac ally and passionate defender of the republican model -- was shocked and almost speechless on Sunday as he surveyed riot damage in Evreux, where he is mayor.

"A hundred people have smashed everything and strewn desolation," he commented. "Well, they don't form part of our universe."

... and denial is not a river in Egypt, pal.

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