Saturday, November 05, 2005

9th Night of Riots Gains Dangerous Momentum in Paris


The latest outbreak comes despite the presence of more than 1,000 police officers in the Paris suburbs. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin met with youths from those areas earlier Friday to discuss the crisis. Some 220 cars have been burnt on the 9th consecutive night of unrest in mainly immigrant-dominated areas near Paris, despite the heavy police presence.

A savage assault on a bus passenger highlighted the dangers of travel in Paris' impoverished outlying neighborhoods, where the violence has entered its second week.

Attackers doused a woman, in her 50s and on crutches, with a flammable liquid and set her afire as she tried to get off a bus in the suburb of Sevran Wednesday, judicial officials said. The bus had been forced to stop because of burning objects in its path. She was rescued by the driver and hospitalized with severe burns.

Many of the rioters say the French government has a racial bias and treats them as second class citizens.

The violence started last week when two North African teenagers, Bouna Traore, aged 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, hid from police at a power station and were accidentally electrocuted. Local people say they were fleeing police - a claim the French police deny. Inquiries are under way.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has said solving the problems behind the rioting would take time.

Mr Sarkozy had earlier sparked some criticism with hardline comments describing the rioting youths as "hoodlums".

Damn, burnimg up a woman on crutches is messed up. She can't get away. That's like, medieval. How 'bout calling the rioters hoodlums, drawing criticism as "hardline comments"? This is gonna get alot worse.

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