Thursday, November 03, 2005

émeutes à Paris

La banlieue, la banlieue, toujours la putain de banlieue:

Paris riots spread, shaking French government

The French government was reeling after nearly a week of suburban rioting outside Paris spread to other areas around the capital, laying bare what observers said was the country's failure to address deep problems of poverty and immigration.

Gangs of stone-throwing youths clashed with police and torched 180 cars overnight in several towns north and west of Paris in an escalation of dusk-to-dawn violence that has raged since last Thursday following the death of two teenagers in the northeast suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

Thirty-four people were arrested in the rampages, which have so shaken authorities that President Jacques Chirac came forward to call for calm and vow to investigate the teens' deaths.

"Tempers must calm down," a spokesman quoted him as telling his cabinet.

Chirac warned that "an escalation of disrespectful behaviour would lead to a dangerous situation" and asserted that "there can be no area existing outside the law" in France.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin put off indefinitely a trip to Canada originally scheduled for Wednesday to call an emergency meeting of ministers to discuss the problem and attend a parliamentary session in which he called the violence "extremely serious".

He told ministers that "the government will ensure public order and will do so with the necessary firmness."

He said he was counting on Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy -- who cancelled a trip next week to Pakistan and Afghanistan to deal with the situation -- to "take the necessary measures."

(Click the link and read the rest. Cliquez le lien et lisez le reste.)

Some see Sarkozy as the next president, perhaps revealing a swing away from leftism to something more conservative. Perhaps; perhaps not.

For now, I have mixed feelings about the way the French are handling their "little Muslim problem." On the one hand, the question of ethnic non-assimilation, especially in the Parisian banlieue, needs to be addressed. On the other, I don't feel that government measures banning religious expression are the answer. In a real sense, the current French government has for years been making its bed, and now it'll have to sleep in it.

For more on Sarkozy, about whom I have no strong opinons, see here.


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