France: Violence Unebbed
Statement from the Parti Socialiste Français: After six consecutive nights of urban rioting, the words of the Prime Minister [de Villepin] to the Assemblée Nationale this afternoon demonstrate that the government still has not come to terms with the gravity of the situation. The PM was content with an institutional communication while the neighborhoods affected were expecting concrete proposals to restore lasting calm. No indication was given that any solution to the crisis is on the way.
The soothing words of the PM on the necessity of maintaining public order cannot mask the fact that the unprecedented violence of the last few days is direct demonstration of lack of confidence of the policies of the last 3 1/2 years for which Interior Nicolas SARKOZY shares a portion of the blame:
- Neighborhood police in the suburbs have been disbanded while the numbers of law enforcement personnel have increased in the cities.
- The justice system is totally saturated. There is so much backlog that a speedy, just and efficient punishment of juvenile delinquency is impossible.
- Unemployment and social misery are increasing as our first line of defense is underfunded and abandoned. Social workers, teachers, educators and association leaders are vilified.
- Discrimination in hiring is increasing. There is no equal opportunity policy.
Wow. A lot of unhappy people.
03:42 Asnières-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine) A 3,000 m2 factory on the docks of the Seine adjacent to a warehouse on fire. Ninety firemen and twenty-five engines o the scene. Flames more than 30 feet high.
01:23 Grigny (Essonne) Thirty police wounded by shotgun pellets in clashes with youth.
01:00 Seine-Saint-Denis. 60 cars on fire, 30 arrests.
22:00 Avon. Automobile dealership set on fire.
Savigny-sur-Orge. School torched.
Fleury-Mérogis. Nursery school torched, 55 cars set on fire, 20 arrests.
Levallois-Perret. Attempt to throw Molotov cocktails at the Eiffel Shopping Center.
Val-de-Marne. 25 cars set on fire.
Saint-Maurice. Fire damage to nursery school.
Sucy-en-Brie. Public library set on fire.
Orly. Business attacked and set ablaze.
L'Hay-les-Roses. School torched.
Champigny-sur-Marne. Gymnasium set on fire.
Yvelines. Public buildings set on fire
Maurepas. Social club set ablaze.
Trappes. Tresury set on fire.
Chanteloup-les-Vignes. Two ambulances set ablaze.
Val-d'Oise. 30 cars and 13 rubbish bins set on fire.
Argenteuil. Police clash with 150 to 200 youths. 23 arrested.
Seine-et-Marne. Disturbances throughout the Département.
Melun. Underground parking garage set on fire.