Monday, November 07, 2005



Destruction In France
Worst Since WWII



From Associated Press:


In violence Monday, vandals burned churches, schools and businesses, and injured 36 police officers in clashes around the country, setting a new high for arson and violence, said France's national police chief, Michel Gaudin.

"This spread, with a sort of shock wave spreading across the country, shows up in the number of towns affected," Gaudin said.

In terms of material destruction, the unrest is France's worst since World War II — and never has rioting struck so many different French cities simultaneously, said security expert Sebastian Roche, a director of research at the state-funded National Center for Scientific Research.

Villepin said curfews will be imposed under a 1955 law that allows the declaring of a state of emergency in parts or all of France. The law was passed to curb unrest in Algeria during the war that led to its independence.


"The multiplying acts of destruction, the destruction of schools and sports centers, thousands of cars set on fire, all of this is unacceptable and inexcusable," he said.

Villepin said "organized criminal networks" are backing the violence and youths taking part are treating it as a "game," trying to outdo each other. He did not rule out the possibility that radical Islamists are involved, saying: "That element must not be neglected." France's community of Muslims, at some 5 million, is western Europe's largest.



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