Friday, November 04, 2005

Rioters in utopian France think the country sucks

I mean why else would millions of peace loving muslims torch Parisian cars... unless they were Peugeots, because those are pretty lame cars.

LE BLANC MESNIL, France (AP)-[off the wire, no link, similar story here]-Small, mobile groups of youths torched hundreds more cars near Paris Friday, and the violence and arson attacks that have shaken the capital's suburbs for a week spread to other French towns.

In the eastern city of Dijon, teens apparently angered by a police crackdown on drug trafficking in their neighborhood set fire to five cars, said Paul Ronciere, the region's top government official.

At a housing project in Salon-de-Provence, near the southern city of Marseille, nearly a dozen cars were burned, police said.

Overnight in the the Paris region, at least 420 cars were torched, an increase from previous nights, the Interior Ministry said. It said five police officers were slightly injured by youths throwing stones or bottles.

But unlike previous nights, there were few direct clashes with security forces, no live bullets fired at police, and far fewer large groups of rioters, said Jean-Francois Cordet, the top government official for the worst-hit Seine-Saint-Denis suburb northeast of Paris.

Instead, he said, the unrest was led by "very numerous small and highly mobile groups," with arson attacks that destroyed 187 vehicles and five buildings, including three sprawling warehouses.

"The peak is now behind us," said Gerard Gaudron, mayor of Aulnay-sous-Bois, one of the worst-hit towns. He told France-Info radio that parents were determined to keep teenagers home to prevent unrest. "People have had enough. People are afraid. It's time for this to stop."

The rioting started Oct. 27 with youths angered over the deaths of two teenagers electrocuted in a power substation where they hid, thinking police were chasing them.
Car torchings are a daily fact of life in France's tough suburbs, and thousands are burned each month, police say. Police intelligence has recorded nearly 70,000 incidents of urban violence this year, including attacks on police and rescue services, arson attacks, throwing projectiles, clashes between gangs, joy-riding and destroying property, the newspaper Le Monde reported.

What sets the current unrest apart is its duration, intensity and the way it rapidly ignited beyond the original flash point of Clichy-sous-Bois in northeast Paris to become a broader challenge to the French state. Many of the rioting youths are the French-born children of immigrant parents. The unrest has laid bare discontent simmering among immigrant families who feel trapped by poverty, unemployment, and poor education.

France's Muslim population, an estimated 5 million, is Western Europe's largest. Immigrants and their children often complain of police harassment and job discrimination.

Some 1,300 riot police fanned out overnight across Seine-Saint-Denis, as the unrest entered its second week and following Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's vow Thursday to restore order.

Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.(AP-DJ)--11-04-05 1048EST

That this has continued for so long is remarkable. I'm interested to see how the French eventually quell these riots, will they do something extreme or just wait it out until the rioters get tired. With their recent history of running from a fight, I'm betting on the latter.