Thursday, June 01, 2006

Paris Riots: Second night of "youths" running amok

France: No this is not an old post from last year, they are rioting again in the suburbs.

PARIS, May 31 -- Small gangs of youths pelted riot police with rocks and set cars and garbage bins ablaze late Tuesday in a second night of unrest in the Paris suburbs, raising fears of a return of the disturbances that inflamed 300 French towns and suburbs last fall. The violence of the last two nights -- in which youths attacked police cars, government buildings and riot police -- was sparked in part by mounting resentment toward the mayor of the northeastern Paris suburb of Montfermeil, who in recent weeks imposed a law prohibiting 15- to 18-year-olds from gathering in groups of more than three and requiring anyone under 16 to be accompanied by an adult on city streets after 8 p.m. The French government last fall promised to improve living conditions and job opportunities in suburbs heavily populated by immigrant families and where unemployment is rampant, but little has been done and the government's main initiative -- a youth jobs bill -- ended with this spring's politically disastrous student demonstrations. At the same time, police have said crime has increased in poor suburban neighborhoods, and frustration with the government has continued to fester. "We have the painful sense that nothing has been fixed," Francois Hollande, leader of the opposition Socialist Party, said in an interview on France-2 Television. At 9:30 Tuesday night, an estimated 15 young people threw rocks and projectiles at police patrolling an apartment complex area. At 11 p.m., youths tossed a makeshift explosive into a police car. The officers inside barely had time to escape before the vehicle exploded in flames.
Its time to bust out the hard rule of a baton on these "youths."
In Montfermeil, a suburb of high youth unemployment and government-subsidized housing projects, young people have been growing increasingly angry at Mayor Xavier Lemoine's attempts to crack down on gang violence. Although a local court earlier this month overturned his effort to limit youth gatherings, he vowed to seek other measures. On Monday, residents said, police roughed up a woman who protested police efforts to arrest her son, a suspect in the beating several weeks ago of a bus driver. Police ended up arresting both the mother and son, according to police. Monday night, hooded youths hurled stones and other projectiles at Mayor Lemoine's house and at City Hall, and the police who responded were attacked with baseball bats. The clashes lasted three hours and seven police officers reportedly were injured. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, whose characterizations of rioters as "scum" inflamed last fall's violence, visited police officers who had responded to Monday night's incidents. "More than 100 hooligans set upon you -- masked and carrying weapons," he said. "We are confronting not a spontaneous revolt, but hooligans who have only a single purpose -- to create the most damage and injure as many people as possible."
Stop playing nice and ratchet down on the scum. This is furthering the image of France out of control.

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