|Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Paris and Iraq
7th night of violence in Paris
03/11/2005 08:02 - (SA)
French riot police officers run past a burning truck in Paris suburb,
Aulnay-sous-Bois. (Christophe Ena, AP)
* Unrest spreads in Paris
* Paris rocked by unrest
* Cops, youths in ongoing clashes
* Destruction as youths riot
Paris - Violence broke out in impoverished Paris suburbs for the seventh
straight night, with rioters clashing with police and leaving a trail of
torched cars and vandalised premises on Thursday.
In Aulnay-sous-Bois, in the worst-affected area of Seine-Saint-Denis, a
police station was briefly besieged by gangs of youths while a gymnasium
and a garage were set ablaze and a commercial centre vandalised, a fire
service spokesperson said.
A total of 40 vehicles, including two buses, were torched before
midnight in nine towns in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, a
high-unemployment largely-immigrant department, according to local
police who made 15 arrests.
Two primary schools were also damaged in the area northeast of the
Calls for police to leave
Elsewhere a France 2 TV crew were forced by hooded youths to abandon
their car, which was then set ablaze by 40 rioters.
The riots were first triggered last Thursday by the accidental
electrocution of two youths, aged 15 and 17, who had scaled an
electrical relay station's walls to escape a police identity check in
Since then, tensions - punctuated by the night-time confrontations -
have increased in the low-rent suburbs that surround Paris and house
many immigrants or descendants of immigrants from France's former
The firing of a police tear gas grenade against a mosque in
Clichy-sous-Bois during clashes late on Sunday also sparked rage in the
suburb's large Muslim community.
Increasingly observers are pointing to France's failure to address deep
problems of poverty and immigration.
The violence has so shaken authorities that President Jacques Chirac
came forward on Wednesday to call for calm and vowed to investigate the
"Tempers must calm down," a spokesperson quoted him as telling his
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.
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."
As on the previous night, the violence radiated to other departments
Dozens more vehicles were set ablaze in the Hauts-de-Seine region west
of Paris where another police station was the target of Molotov
cocktails. Three people were arrested there.
Meanwhile 40 hooded youths vandalised a commercial centre just 200
metres from the Seine-Saint-Denis police headquarters, in front of which
one car was set on fire.
Mediators called for the immediate withdrawal.