Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > France at war with radical Islam - Woman set on fire by Muslims was on crutches - police guarding synagouge confronted
France at war with radical Islam - Woman set on fire by Muslims was on crutches - police guarding synagouge confronted
French engaged in mortal struggle against Islamist insurgency - country must be put on war footing
November 4, 2005
MIM: The Muslims who claim they are rioting because of 'anger' over the two youths who electrocuted themselves in a power station had no problems dousing a woman on crutches with gasoline and setting her on fire. If the French needed any proof that they are engaged in a mortal struggle for survival - this was it. Failure to act immediately and call out the army will result in more deaths.
"...In the northeast suburb of Sevran on Wednesday, youths doused a woman on crutches with flammable liquid and set her on fire with a burning rag as she struggled to get off a bus, a judicial official said, citing the bus driver's report to police.
The driver, who had ordered passengers to leave the bus because flaming objects were blocking the road, helped the injured woman get off, the official said. .."
"...A commuter train line linking Paris to Charles de Gaulle airport northeast of the capital ran a scaled-back service Friday after two trains were targeted Wednesday night. The SNCF train authority said one in five trains was running and conductors of night trains were demanding onboard security. Youths fired buckshot at riot police vehicles in Neuilly-sur-Marne, east of Paris, and a group of 30 to 40 harassed police near a synagogue in Stains to the north where a city bus was torched and a school classroom partially burned... In Trappes, to the west, 27 buses were incinerated. But the unrest was scaled back from the sometimes-ferocious rioting of previous nights, when bullets were fired at police and firefighters without causing injuries..."
New waves of arson attacks hit Paris suburbs; unrest spreads to other towns
Updated at 15:14 on November 4, 2005
A firefighter tries to extinguish a raging fire of a warehouse in the Paris suburb, Le Bourget. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
LE BLANC MESNIL, France (AP) - Small, mobile groups of youths hit Paris' riot-shaken suburbs with waves of arson attacks, torching hundreds of cars, as unrest entered its second week Friday and spread to other towns in France. A woman on crutches was doused in flammable liquid and set on fire earlier this week as she tried to get off a bus in a Paris suburb, a judicial official said Friday. She suffered severe burns.
In the eastern city of Dijon, teens apparently angered by a police crackdown on drug trafficking in their neighbourhood set fire to five cars, said Paul Ronciere, the region's top government official. Another 11 cars were burned at a housing project in Salon-de-Provence, near the southern city of Marseille, police said. Overnight in the Paris region, at least 520 cars were set ablaze, up from previous nights, the Interior Ministry said. It said five police were slightly injured by thrown stones or bottles. But unlike previous nights, there were few direct clashes with security forces, no live bullets fired at police, and far fewer large groups of rioters, said Jean-Francois Cordet, the top government official for the worst-hit Seine-Saint-Denis suburb northeast of Paris.
Instead, he said, the unrest was led by "very numerous small and highly mobile groups," with arson attacks that destroyed 187 vehicles and five buildings, including three sprawling warehouses. "The peak is now behind us," said Gerard Gaudron, mayor of Aulnay-sous-Bois, another badly hit town. He told France-Info radio that parents were determined to keep teenagers home to prevent unrest. "People have had enough. People are afraid. It's time for this to stop." In the northeast suburb of Sevran on Wednesday, youths doused a woman on crutches with flammable liquid and set her on fire with a burning rag as she struggled to get off a bus, a judicial official said, citing the bus driver's report to police. The driver, who had ordered passengers to leave the bus because flaming objects were blocking the road, helped the injured woman get off, the official said.
Justice Minister Pascal Clement decried the incident Friday, saying it caused him "great emotion." The rioting started Oct. 27, after youths were angered over the deaths of two teenagers, Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17. They were electrocuted in a power substation where they hid, thinking police were chasing them. Traore's brother, Siyakah Traore, on Friday urged protesters to "calm down and stop ransacking everything." "This is not how we are going to have our voices heard," he said on RTL radio. Car torchings are a daily fact of life in France's tough suburbs, with thousands burned each month, police say. Police intelligence has recorded nearly 70,000 incidents of urban violence this year, including attacks on police and rescue services, arson, throwing projectiles, clashes between gangs, joy-riding and property destruction, Le Monde reported
. What sets this unrest apart is its duration, intensity and the way it rapidly grew beyond the original flashpoint of Clichy-sous-Bois in northeast Paris to become a broader challenge for France. No urban violence of this nature has lasted this long, said Pascal Perrineau, director of the Center for the Study of French Political Life. Many of the riotous youths are the French-born children of immigrant parents. The unrest has laid bare discontent simmering in suburbs and among immigrant families who feel trapped by poverty, unemployment, and poor education. France's Muslim population, estimated at 5 million, is Western Europe's largest. Immigrants and their children often complain of police harassment and job discrimination. National police spokesman Patrick Hamon, however, said there was "nothing that allows us to say that Islamists" were behind the recent unrest.
Some 1,300 riot police fanned out overnight across Seine-Saint-Denis, as the unrest entered its second week and followed Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's vow Thursday to restore order. A commuter train line linking Paris to Charles de Gaulle airport northeast of the capital ran a scaled-back service Friday after two trains were targeted Wednesday night. The SNCF train authority said one in five trains was running and conductors of night trains were demanding onboard security. Youths fired buckshot at riot police vehicles in Neuilly-sur-Marne, east of Paris, and a group of 30 to 40 harassed police near a synagogue in Stains to the north where a city bus was torched and a school classroom partially burned, Cordet said.
In Trappes, to the west, 27 buses were incinerated. But the unrest was scaled back from the sometimes-ferocious rioting of previous nights, when bullets were fired at police and firefighters without causing injuries.
French riots spread outside Paris
AULNAY-SOUS-BOIS, France - Rioters set fire to hundreds of vehicles in impoverished suburbs of northeastern Paris in an eighth night of unrest that spread for the first time to other parts of the capital and other towns in France.
Local officials said they had lost patience with the government. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin met his rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, but kept a low profile after days of government squabbling over how to handle the crisis.
Police reported fewer clashes than previous nights and residents said the Eid al-Fitr holiday ending Ramadan may have calmed areas with large populations of Muslims of North African and black African origin.
But the rioting spread, with some attacks reported in western Paris suburbs -- including the torching of 23 buses at a depot -- and a few cars firebombed around Rouen in northern France, Dijon in the east and Marseille in the south.
The pattern of violence also changed, shifting from crowds clashing with police to targeted arson attacks, many against businesses and warehouses.
"I've had enough of this," said an angry woman wearing a headscarf in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a northeastern Paris suburb where a large warehouse was burned down overnight. "This must stop quickly. It's just not right."
Mayors from the riot-hit areas were also exasperated after Villepin briefed them on Thursday evening about an "action plan for the suburbs" he aims to present later this month.
"Many of us told him this isn't the time for an umpteenth plan," said Jean-Christophe Lagarde, mayor of Drancy. "All we need is one death and I think it will get out of control."
Justice Minister Pascal Clement was visibly shaken after being briefed about a handicapped woman in her 50s who was badly burned on Wednesday evening when rioters poured petrol on a city bus she was riding in and set it ablaze.
"This is immense violence," he told reporters in Bobigny, another town in the Seine Saint Denis department between central Paris and Charles de Gaulle airport that has been the worst hit. "I think all French are shocked to see things like this."
With the violence making headlines around the world, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei complained about foreign coverage of the riots -- without naming any media -- and said foreign tourists were not in danger.
"One is sometimes surprised at the international coverage of these events," he told reporters. "These are very serious incidents ... but we are very far from such a serious situation as some commentaries or television reports lead one to think."
Officials in Seine Saint Denis said 187 vehicles had been destroyed there overnight. French media said up to 600 vehicles were destroyed in the whole greater Paris region, including 23 buses at a terminal in Trappes in the southwest near Versailles.
Police detained 27 people and reported two injuries. They said a total of 1,260 vehicles had been destroyed in the greater Paris region since riots began last week, with more than half torched in Seine Saint Denis alone.
Security officials said the presence of hundreds of riot police had acted as a deterrent, but rioters nevertheless set fire to two textile warehouses, a bus depot and a school.
"Why a school, why a car? What can you say about such blind violence?" said one local mayor, Michel Beaumale.
FEAR VIOLENCE WILL SPREAD
Villepin spent Friday out of public view in his Matignon offices. Mayors who criticized him expressed concern the rioting could spread to other cities with similar suburbs that keep the poor far from rich city centers.
Manuel Valls, mayor of Evry south of the capital, said: "We're afraid that what's happening in Seine Saint Denis will spread. We have to give these people a message of hope."
Rioting among young men of North African and black African origin -- mostly locally born citizens who feel cheated by France's official promises of liberty, equality and fraternity -- began last week after two teenagers of African origin died while fleeing the police.
Sarkozy, who sparked controversy earlier this week by dubbing protesting youth "scum," denounced the rioters but adopted a less strident tone.
"I am well aware that it will take some time to resolve these problems of the suburbs which have been left untouched for 30 years," he said during a visit to the Alpes-Maritime region.
Villepin and Sarkozy, whose bitter political rivalry has overshadowed the government's reaction, teamed up on Thursday to announce that restoring order was their "absolute priority."
Villepin blamed the riots on gangs he said terrorized residents and sought to keep police out of their districts, and vowed law and order would be restored.
In several interviews on Friday morning, conservative politicians said drug traffickers and Islamist militants were fanning the unrest, although they gave no details.