Friday, October 27, 2006

For Battle

The Riot Police are ready to do their job in Paris:

By JEAN-MARIE GODARD, Associated Press Writer

CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France - Police fanned out around the outskirts of Paris amid fears of renewed violence Friday as mourners marked the deaths a year ago of two teenagers that ignited riots in largely immigrant housing projects across France.

The outburst of anger at the accidental deaths of the youths, electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police, led to three weeks of unrest and grew into a broader challenge against the French state that has continued to simmer.

The number of cars incinerated was unusually high overnight throughout France (Pastorius note: Think about how stupid that sounds. The number of burnt cars was unusually high. In other words, it was higher than the already high numbers - 112 per night on average - and they have no idea why.), and in recent days, attackers have torched four buses after forcing off passengers in the outskirts of Paris.

Within the past several weeks, police have been ambushed in several organized attacks.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy pledged Thursday to assign police to protect buses serving some of the troubled communities, and more than 500 extra riot police have been assigned to beef up security this week.

On Friday, several hundred residents of Clichy-sous-Bois and other communities outside Paris held a silent march in honor of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore, the teens of African descent who took refuge in a power substation from what they thought was a police chase on Oct. 27, 2005. In the minds of young people here, it was fear of police that led to their deaths.

The police presence at Friday's march was discreet. (Pastorius note: Yes, thanks heavens they are being discreet. You know, the way one must be discreet about the affairs of love. God, how pathetically French. Do take note, the writer is French.)

Carrying a banner reading "Dead For Nothing," families of the teens led the ethnically diverse crowd away from city hall toward the power station.

"They became a symbol in the projects," said a cousin of Traore who gave her name as Coulibaly.

A memorial to the youths was erected near city hall later Friday; the site where they died was adorned only with the graffiti and rubble that are the signature of such neighborhoods, until family members placed flowers beside the fence on Friday.

Clichy-sous-Bois has no police station, so officers patrolling here come from outside and have no connection to residents. There is no public transport and few here have private cars, leaving most people virtually trapped. Unemployment among its 28,000 residents is well above the 9 percent national average, at 23.5 percent, and rises to 32 percent for those between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the newspaper La Croix.

The 500 additional police officers pulled in to the outskirts of Paris this week will be in five units meant to reinforce the 13 units already assigned to the area.

Human beings own their government. The government does not own the people. The people elect their government and pay taxes so that the government will do its job and protect its citizens. When the government stops doing its job, it is time for the government to go.