Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Twelve and Thirteen

As we near two weeks from the death of Zyad and Bounna, mainstream media seems to be suggesting that the violence in France is on the decrease. Time will tell if this is just wishful thinking – i remember they said the same thing almost two weeks ago!

At the same time, amongst politicians everyone has an angle on this, and everyone hopes to profit. What is clear is that the government counter-attack has started – it is unclear how or when it will end. Despite promises of money and jobs and support for immigrant youth, what stands out is how – above and beyond the repressive State of Emergency – the right-wing is seizing this opportunity to try and push through a number of anti-immigrant measures.


Unless otherwise noted, the following information is all from the Nouvel Observateur. This is the latest from France:

Yesterday (November 8th 2005)

Fascism and Racism on the Rise:
  • The National Front [a far right racist political party] has announced that it is organizing a demonstration next Monday, which will be attended by party president Jean-Marie Le Pen, to protest against the wave of urban violence.

  • At a demonstration close to the National Assembly, Philippe de Villiers, president of the [far-right Catholic] Mouvement pour la France (MPF), has declared that “the army should be called in” to stop the “war in the suburbs,” and also that the “flood of immigrants” should be stopped.

  • On Monday/Tuesday night an incendiary device was thown “towards the Moslem prayer room” in Annemasse (Haute-Savoie), without causing any damage, according to the Annecy prefect.

  • [Prime Minister] De Villepin claims that “some social instability comes from an uncontrolled flow of illegal immigrants.”

  • According to Jean-François Bernardin, president of the Assembly of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACFCI), the “culture” of the suburbs and of the business world are “relatively incompatible,” adding that bosses are already “bending over backwards” to give people a chance.

  • Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy suggested to deputies, during a debate on the suburbs, that parents who are unable to control their children should perhaps have their state assistance benefits cut.

  • Dmitri Rogozine, a government deputy and nationalist leader in Russia, calls for the arrest and expulsion from Russia of people from Central Asia and the Caucasus, as a preventative measure to avoid the kind of unrest currently gripping France.

Arrests Made:
  • A thirty year old mason was sentenced to four months in prison by the Grenoble court. He was convicted of contempt and rebellion against public forces, committed during the rioting in the Grenoble suburbs.

  • In Nantes two youths aged 18 and 21 were sentenced to 3 and 4 months in prison after last week end’s violence.

  • Fifteen young people pass before the Bobigny criminal court on charges related to the rioting.

  • In Belfort three young people aged 18 and 19 were sentenced to one and two months in prison for participating in the riots last week end.

  • In Strasbourg, two adults are held in temporary custody and two youths are placed with the courts following fires set in Wasselonne (Bas-Rhin) on the night of Halloween, according to a legal source.

  • In Toulouse, a rioter had his hand blown off when he attempted to throw a tear gas grenade back at the police who had just fired it, according to the police.

  • Between October 27th and November 8th, roughly 1,550 people suspected of participating in riots had been arrested, according to the DGPN Michel Gaudin.

The State of Emergency:
  • Sarkozy met with the prefects from the seven defense zones to set out how and when curfews will be imposed.

  • Sarkozy announced that during the State of Emergency police will have the right to carry out raids if they “have reason to believe” people are stockpiling arms.

  • The decision to declare a State of Emergency is denounced by human rights organizations, trade unions and left-wing political parties, who accuse the government of having “flat out lied” about the legislation, and noting the “horrible symbolic message that it gives, given the reference to the Algerian war.”

  • Marine Le Pen –Jean Marie Le Pen’s daughter and herself president of the regional Paris National Front chapter – congratulates “Mr. de Villepin for having finally decided to declare a state of emergency, as we suggested” last week.

  • [President] Jacques Chirac is to meet with Ministers this weekend to discuss a new law that would allow the State of Emergency to be extended beyond the 12-day period stipulated by the 1955 law, according to government spokesperson Jean-François Copé.

  • The Somme prefecture has imposed a curfew in Amiens between 10pm and 6am for unaccompanied minors under the age of 16; it will enter into effect Wednesday at midnight.

  • The UMP mayor of Orleans passes a municipal law imposing a curfew on minors under 16 years of age throughout the municipality.

  • Jean Marsaudon , the UMP mayor of Savigny-sur-Orge (in Essonne), has announced that he will impose a curfew on all minors in is municipality between 10pm and 7am for the next month.

  • In Montpelier the Herault prefect has banned the sale of gasoline to minors, claiming that this is “at the root of the serious disturbances.”

  • The Director General of the National Police Michel Gaudin claims that there is an “organization of adults who are putting children on the frontlines,” following the discovery of an abandoned building in Evry where Molotov cocktails were buil and stored.

  • The Prime Minister announced that “by January 2006” the Minister of the Interior will have a budget to hire “2,000 more officers.”

Prime Minister De Villepin states that he “understands how Moslems in France feel” following the “misunderstanding” around the tear gas fire at the Clichy-sous-Bois mosque.

There is a “definite decrease” in the level of violence in Seine-Saint-Denis Monday/Tuesday night, but rioting continued throughout much of France: schools were set on fire, as were cars. The heaviest confrontations took place in the suburbs of Toulouse, Lyon and Saint-Etienne.
And So Far Today (November 9th 2005)

The Curfews:
  • Six of the twenty five prefects whose departments are affected by the unrest have imposed curfews.

  • According to an opinion poll, 73% of people in France are in favour of the curfews, whereas 24% are opposed.

  • The National Students Union (Union nationale lycéenne) condemns the State of Emergency – which it notes is a “measure full of warlike and violent symbolism” - accusing the government of having “contempt” for young people.

  • The prefect for Alpes-Maritimes has imposed a curfew between 10pm and 5am throughout the 21 municipalities within its department. This curfew applies to unaccompanied minors, with unspecified “special measures” in effect in Nice and Saint-Laurent-du-Var.The prefect of Loiret has passed a law banning the sale or transport of gasoline in containers. More than 80 cars have been set on fire and fifteen people have been arrested in the department since Friday.

  • Francis Idrac, the prefect of Gironde, has passed a law banning the sale or transport of gasoline in containers in he city of Bordeaux.

  • The prefect for Seine-Maritime has imposed a curfew between 10pm and 5am in Rouen, du Havre and d’Elbeuf. This curfew applies to unaccompanied minors.The prefect for Eure has imposed a curfew on part of the Madeleine neighbourhood in Evreux.

  • In Toulouse, two adults went before the criminal court and were sentenced to 8 months prison for setting vehicles on fire.

  • In Nantes the criminal court has sentenced three young people to two to three months in prison for participation in the riots.

  • Minister of Justice Clement instructs prosecuting attorneys to request that young people between the ages of 16 and 18 who violate the curfew be placed in closed educational facilities.

  • Six people were arrested Wednesday morning in the Grande-Borne neighbourhood in Grigny (Essonne), where police were shot at with buckshot Sunday night.

  • In Evry the prosecutor announced that a legal file was opened on Tuesday for “attempted homicide” in the matter of buckshot fired against the police in Grigny.

  • One hundred and thirty adults have received prison sentences since the riots started on October 27th, according to the Minister of Justice.

Fascism & Racism on the Rise:
  • Bruno Gollnisch, general delegate of the far-right National Front, holds a press conference in Lyon where he calls for all French troops to be called back from abroad, in anticipation of a deterioration of the situation in the suburbs.

  • According to Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, 120 foreigners have been convicted of participating in the unrest. He states that they be immediately deported regardless of their legal status.

  • In an interview with the BBC, National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has said that young people from immigrant communities [N.B.: i.e. not necessarily immigrants themselves] who take part in the unrest should be stripped of their Freench nationality.

Violence Abating?
  • Slightly more than 100 cars were set on fire during Tuesday/Wednesday night in the Grand-Est epartments, which is a significant drop from the night before when 160 cars were set on fire.

  • According to the authorities, there was a drop in violence overnight in western France, specifically in Nantes and Rennes.

  • According to the director of Sarkozy’s office, Claude Guéant, 617 cars were set on fire during the night of Tuesday/Wednesday. According to the police only 558 cars were set on fire, 418 outside of Paris and 140 in the Paris region, and 240 people were arrested overnight.

  • Belgian authorities admit that seventeen cars were set on fire during Tuesday/Wednesday night.

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1 comment:

  1. I want to thank you for this information. There is such a shortage of easy to find information on these riots.