Friday, November 04, 2005 - Fiery riots spread beyond Paris

Having spent some time in these poorer non-tourist areas of France, I am not surprised at the violence. However, unlike some French officials, I think there is no good excuse for it, and it should be dealt with harshly. How can a so-called civilized country let law and order break down like this? Here are a few mind-boggling selections from the news article on the French rioting.

Much of the rioting has occurred in areas heavily populated by poor African Muslim immigrants and their French-born children who are weary of poverty, crime, poor education and unemployment.

(So the reader can feel sorry for them. As a side note, apparently socialism is not the success some would have us capitalists believe.)

The youths were apparently angered by a police crackdown on drug trafficking in their neighborhood, AP reported.

(How dare those police do that!)

The rioting began last Thursday after two teenagers of African descent -- Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17 -- were accidentally electrocuted while apparently trying to escape from police by hiding in a power substation in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.
Officials have said police were not chasing the boys, and the Interior Ministry has released a preliminary report exonerating officers of any direct role in the deaths, according to AP.

(Moral: Don't run away from the police. Nobody made them hide there.)

Speaking to parliament Wednesday, de Villepin demanded punishment for lawbreakers but used calmer language than that used by Sarkozy, who has been criticized for calling the protesting youths "scum."

A police union official has proposed establishing a curfew and bringing in the military to help handle the rioting, while some members of the opposition Socialist Party have suggested the police should withdraw from the communities to quell the unrest.

(Eight days of this and there's no curfew yet? Bring in the military, by all means. Police withdrawal - good grief!)

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