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Saturday, October 29, 2005

France at war?

French, African, or Asian youths sure can be a problem.

The two utes, your honor?

What utes?

jrdroll has the sordid Internet history of this story Information like wildfire, I tell you.

Youths riot for second night in Paris suburb
By Laure Bretton
Sat Oct 29, 9:42 AM ET
PARIS (Reuters)

PARIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of French youths fought with police and set cars ablaze in a Paris suburb on Saturday in a second night of rioting which media said was triggered when two teenagers were electrocuted while fleeing police.

The teenagers were killed and a third seriously injured on Thursday night when they were electrocuted in an electricity sub station as they ran away from police investigating a break-in, media reported.

Firefighters intervened around 40 times on Friday night in the northeastern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois where many of the 28,000 residents are immigrants, mainly from Africa, police and fire officers said.

Unidentified youths fired a shot at police but no one was hurt, police said.

"It's not normal that these two die like that," one teenage boy wearing a hooded sweatshirt told French television, referring to the two dead boys, which media identified as 15-year-old Banou and 17-year-old Ziad.

Television pictures showed youths lobbing stones at police officers while cars burned on the streets of the suburb. Police in riot gear chased some youths down an alleyway.

Around 19 people were detained and 15 police officers and one journalist injured, police said. They were unable to give figures for the number of protesters hurt.

An officer from police trade union Action Police CFTC called for help from the army to support police officers.

"There's a civil war under way in Clichy-Sous-Bois at the moment," Michel Thooris from Action Police CFTC, said. "My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical nor theoretical training for street fighting."

However, Joaquin Masanet from the UNSA-Police union, which represents the majority of riot police, did not agree.

"We're not at war," he said. "The police are capable of restoring order if we are given the material and human means."

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday the youths who fled the scene of the suspected break-in and climbed into an electricity sub station were not being pursued by police when they were electrocuted.

It was unclear whether the three youths at the electricity sub station were suspected of taking part in the break-in or where just nearby when it happened.


On Thursday night, youths set cars and garbage cans ablaze and attacked shops and a fire station. Officials said 23 vehicles, including some post office delivery trucks, were set ablaze and destroyed in the protests.

Several hundred people took part in a silent march to honor the two dead teenagers in Clichy-Sous-Bois on Saturday.

"Thanks to you, France will now respect us more than this morning, before this silent march," said Claude Dilain, mayor of Clichy-Sous-Bois, a suburb of high-rise social housing.

"We are showing our real face, that of united citizens, whatever our origin or religion or faith. Together, we have showed our pain and even anger, in calm, dignity and respect."

Sarkozy, whose law and order policies have been criticized by human rights groups, launched a new offensive against crime this month, ordering specially trained police to tackle 25 tough neighborhoods in cities across France.

Sarkozy, who has clearly stated his ambition to run for president in 2007, said police mobile units would patrol districts instead of having police waiting around in coaches while trouble erupted elsewhere.

The tough talking Sarkozy made his name by cutting headline crime figures during his first stint as interior minister from 2002 to 2004.

(Additional reporting by Kerstin Gehmlich)

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