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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Jihad in France : Where is the army ? Synagouge is burned -town protests over woman set on fire by Muslims-rioting nationwide

Jihad in France : Where is the army ? Synagouge is burned -town protests over woman set on fire by Muslims-rioting nationwide

November 5, 2005

Rioting Moves Inside Paris City Limit


By Sebastian Rotella
Times Staff Writer

5:16 PM PST, November 5, 2005

AULNAY-SOUS-BOIS, France — Community leaders and residents marched past smoky ruins and charred vehicles in tense industrial suburbs of Paris on Saturday to protest a 10-day wave of violence, while authorities said the riots spreading across France seem ncreasingly well-organized.

New fires and disturbances broke out after dusk fell Saturday evening. By 10 p.m., two schools had burned and more than 100 vehicles had burned including several ignited by a Molotov cocktail near the Gare du Nord train station in Paris, within the city limits of the capital.

Arsonists had torched about 900 cars around the nation late Friday and Saturday, the largest number since the disturbances began. They also set ablaze a city hall, schools, a car dealership, a textile warehouse, a day care center and other buildings in immigrant neighborhoods on the edge of the capital.

Police made more than 253 arrests overnight, more than any day so far.

The riots began Oct. 27 after the accidental deaths of two teenagers hiding from police. But that incident now seems little more than a trigger for an explosion of the anger, alienation and criminality that had accumulated for years in France's poor, predominantly Muslim neighborhoods.

Earlier Saturday, in this working-class town near Charles de Gaulle International Airport that has been a flashpoint, an ethnically mixed group of about 1,000 residents marched beneath a rainy, steel-gray sky. They sang the national anthem and condemned the destruction of their cars, public buses, workplaces and services.

Just a short drive away, smoke shrouded acrid-smelling streets around the smoldering ruins of a carpet factory that was set afire days ago. Skeletons of burnt cars and buses filled the grounds of a devastated Renault dealership, a Hertz rental facility and the parking lots of gray and beige public housing towers that have been the epicenters of the violence.

The riots spread to cities including Strasbourg, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux and Toulouse, and arsonists struck in some better-off suburbs of the capital.

The persistent hit-and-run arson attacks show signs of strategy and coordination, said Yves Bot, the chief prosecutor in Paris.

"We see a form of action that is organized," Bot told Europe 1 radio Saturday. "It responds to a strategy. . . . It's done by mobile units of youths -- or older guys because they are masked -- who arrive on scooters, throw a burning bottle at a vehicle and leave."

"There are organized gangs, that's irrefutable," he added, "because it's done in a way that gives every sign of coordination. In fact, one can read blogs on certain Web sites inciting other cities to join the movement of the Parisian region."

But debate continued among authorities about the extent of organization.

A regional police intelligence chief here said small-time gangsters who have long dominated the nation's housing projects are instigating the troubles to assert control over drug dealing turf.

Police also have seen indications in recent days that Islamic militants, another major force in slums with big Muslim populations, have played a role in inciting vandals, he said, but to a lesser extent and, they said, "not on the front lines."

At the same time, other groups of Islamic fundamentalists have been active on the streets trying to restore peace.

Overall, the intelligence chief expressed doubt that there is much coordination among the marauding gangs in different towns or regions.

"In this era of Internet, text-messages, cellphones and television, everybody knows what's going on," said the chief, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons. "The coordination comes mainly from the information revolution. The methods are similar because their social class is similar. . . . I don't justify it at all, but there is an element of social demand here, of social distress. The message is: our life is (expletive), so we are going to destroy everything."

The trigger for the riots was an incident Oct. 27 in Clichy-Sous-Bois when two teenagers, one wanted by police, hid from officers in a power substation and died by accidental electrocution. Prosecutors have determined that police were not chasing the youths.

The riots have escalated for several reasons. Resentment of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy's tough-talking anti-crime campaign has been cited as a cause by some rioters and community leaders. A few politicians, mainly on the far left, have called for his resignation, but Sarkozy remains popular with a majority of voters, according to new polls.

Another key factor: During the first week of the unrest, teenagers were home from school for a mid-semester fall vacation. Group violence in restive housing projects, marked by the torching of cars, often erupts during holiday periods in France and often results from minor clashes with police that do not involve injuries.

One mayor in the riot zone blamed criminal gangs and militants for the violence.

Meanwhile, the families of the youths who died in Clichy-Sous-Bois made a public appeal for calm. In addition to the march here, other rallies urged an end to the upheaval that, although mainly directed against property, has included a few cases of brutal violence.

Disabled woman set on fire as Paris riots spread

· Passengers caught in blaze as youths ambush bus
· New attacks thwart hopes that troubles may be over

Jon Henley Paris
Saturday November 5, 2005
The Guardian


A 56-year-old physically disabled woman was being treated in the burns unit of a Paris hospital yesterday after the bus she was travelling in was set alight by youths in the northern suburb of Sevran.

The incident was the ugliest yet in the violence that has convulsed the suburbs of Paris during the past week. Last night, fresh attacks were reported in two dormitory towns outside the French capital where youths set fire to cars and two buildings.

There were also signs of the violence spreading beyond Paris, with arson attacks reported earlier in the day in Rouen in northern France, Dijon in the east and Marseille in the south.

Officials nonetheless expressed hope yesterday that the country's worst urban unrest in a decade could be on the wane. But on Thursday alone, more than 500 cars were torched in the Paris region, an increase on previous episodes.

Police said the Sevran attack left the woman with 30% burns. The number 15 bus had just left the town's railway station at about 9.30pm when it was forced to a halt by burning rubbish bins strewn across the road. Two hooded youths forced open the front door, emptied jerry cans of petrol over the floor and on the front-seat passenger and the driver, then threw lighted rags inside.

The driver, who helped the woman off the bus as other passengers escaped through a rear door, was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. "We are treating this as attempted manslaughter," a police spokesman said.

The prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, and the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, pledged that order would soon be restored and the law respected.

The rioting began last week when two teenagers of African origin were accidentally electrocuted while hiding from police in Clichy-sous-Bois, north of Paris. The violence is fuelled partly by resentment at France's discriminatory treatment of its north and black African communities, a far cry from the liberty, equality and fraternity of the country that likes to call itself the birthplace of human rights.

But officials and social workers also acknowledge that as often as not it is also about youths simply "having a go" at the police - and particularly at the plain-speaking Mr Sarkozy, who refers to the troublemakers as yobs.

"Some of them just come along for the fun," said Gerard Gaudron, mayor of one of the worst-hit towns, Aulnay sous Bois. "Instead of playing on their PlayStations they have a go at the riot police.

"In a few days' time they'll return to normal life ... everyone has now had enough; parents have realised this has to stop. They are starting to keep kids at home."

Police yesterday criticised Mr Sarkozy for his policies, which they said had contributed to the problem. In an earlier stint as interior minister, Mr Sarkozy slashed the number of officers on the beat, to beef up resources for investigation.

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MIM: It is worth noting that this article does not mention the Islamist aspect of the rioting except to compare it visually to 'The Palestinian Intifade'. The authro also makes a point of blaming France and the politicians for the mayhem. The oening quote says it all. An 'North African' says "We are all against what is happening here" he then explains it away asa harmless pastime with 'There's nothing for youths to do' and brazenly asserts that the mayhem is all the fault of Interior Sarkozy because he 'has not said sorry".

France burns with anger



'WE are all against what's happening here," said one North African resident in Aulnay-sous-Bois. "There's nothing for youths to do. Sarkozy lit the fuse and has not said sorry."

For Chantal Goulot, a pensioner, the events unfolding around her home are unprecedented: "I've lived here since 1966 and never seen anything like it. They burned everything, the town hall, the Renault dealership, the car rental place, even the shop that makes cakes."

France awoke yesterday to learn it had suffered its ninth consecutive night of rioting as unrest spread beyond the capital to Nice, Lille, Marseilles and Toulouse.

French police made more than 250 arrests after nearly 900 cars were set ablaze and nurseries and a school burned overnight. Were it not for the French voices bellowing rage in the suburbs, it could have been easily mistaken for a scene from the Palestinian intifada.

But after being confronted for more than a week with violent images of burning cars, torched buildings and gangs of snarling youths armed with bricks and sticks, hurling Molotov cocktails at baton-wielding riot police, the country has finally begun to ask itself serious questions about how it has managed to breed so much anger and frustration among its immigrants communities.

The rioting began 10 days ago over the deaths of two teenagers of African origin, Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, who were electrocuted after they took refuge in an electricity sub-station in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. Locals maintain the pair were being pursued by police, a claim the authorities have denied.

Their deaths sparked immediate anger among locals in a town which has since been dubbed "Clichy-sous-Jungle". Judicial officials said the unrest was being organised via the internet and mobile phones.

But what has set the current unrest apart from other incidents of suburban violence and car torchings - not uncommon in France's troubled suburbs - is the way it rapidly spread as the deaths of Bouna and Zyed became national symbols of police repression, racial discrimination and everything the country's disaffected suburban youth claim is rotten in their lives.

After violence ignited across Paris, on Thursday it spread to other areas of the country for the first time since the rioting began. In the eastern city of Dijon, gangs torched cars and sporadic unrest broke out in Rouen in Normandy and the Mediterranean port of Marseilles. In the region of Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, which has been at the centre of the violence, 187 cars were torched and a handicapped woman was badly burned after being doused in petrol and set ablaze in an attack on a city bus.

The riots have focused the country's attention on conditions in its troubled sink estates which are heavily populated by African Muslim immigrants and their French-born children who are trapped by poverty, crime and poor education and who face daily discrimination over jobs and housing. Unemployment among French men aged 15-24 has risen from 15% four years ago to more than 22%. It is thought to be as high as 30-40% among young second and third-generation immigrants in poorer, high-rise suburbs.

But the government's failure to control the unrest has also triggered widespread criticism of its handling of the crisis and, in particular, of President Jacques Chirac, his loyal lieutenant, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, and, above all, their arch rival, the fiercely ambitious interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy.

All have been accused of trying to score political points off each other in the run-up to the campaign for the 2007 presidential elections. Chirac and de Villepin have been criticised for remaining silent for the first six and five days, respectively, of the crisis when they left Sarkozy in sole charge of the unsuccessful attempt to restore order.

Sarkozy has never been so forcefully criticised as he has been over his handling of the riots, and political observers have suggested that the silence of Chirac and de Villepin was a strategy designed to weaken the popular interior minister whom they hoped would dig his own political grave. France's crime tsar has not gone quite that far but his hardline approach has weakened him politically.

The riots began just days after Sarkozy's launch of a controversial crackdown on crime in the country's tough suburbs.

The minister's aggressive language, in which he referred to rioters as "scum" and vowed "to clean out" troubled suburbs, led to accusations from both the Socialist opposition and from within his own party that he was fanning the violence. Police unions have also joined the chorus of criticism, castigating Sarkozy's decision to end neighbourhood policing and complaining that his declared war on delinquency is making their job increasingly difficult and dangerous.

But Sarkozy stubbornly defended himself. "I speak with real words," he told the popular daily, Le Parisien. "When you fire real bullets at police, you're not a 'youth', you're a thug."

The media-hungry Sarkozy has also been accused of trying to capitalise on the situation to boost his own visibility ahead of the presidential race.

But in the suburbs, young residents are united in their anger over the interior minister's incendiary language and his "lack of respect".

"Sarko must shut up. Either he apologises or he resigns, instead of coming to spread chaos in the suburbs like Bush in Iraq," one 16-year-old said.

"When I see what is happening now, I always come back to this image: Sarkozy in Argenteuil [a troubled Paris suburb], raising his head and saying: 'Madame, I am going to clean all of this away.' The result? By playing the superhero, the control freak, Sarko has made everyone go crazy. He showed a total lack of respect to everyone," said Christophe, 22, a student.

Franck Cannarozzo, a deputy mayor of Aulnay-sous-Bois, added: "We see among the rioters kids of 13 to 15, who are swept along, who are encouraged to take all the risks, and the others, the ringleaders, who are used to creating trouble - they terrorise everyone, and don't want to stop. Rather than playing on their PlayStations, they attack the police."

Meanwhile political analysts note that with de Villepin increasingly appealing to centre right and even left-leaning voters, Sarkozy is being forced further to the right in the run-up to the presidential campaign.

By Thursday, criticism of the government had reached such intensity that de Villepin and Sarkozy were obliged to put personal ambition behind them, at least for the cameras, and present a united front as they both postponed overseas trips to hold emergency meetings throughout the day.

Since his initial handling of the riots was criticised, de Villepin has adopted a tougher stance, blaming gangs of criminals and drug dealers for instigating the riots. He said: "The Republican state will not give in. Order and justice will have the last word in our country."

Yesterday, he summoned eight key ministers and a top Muslim official to his offices as he tried to chart an end to the violence.

But amid the internal squabbling and public posturing, one voice has cut through the rhetoric to the heart of the problem - that of social cohesion minister Jean-Louis Borloo, who pointed out that France had to acknowledge its failure to deal with the anger simmering in its impoverished suburbs for decades.

Officially, no figures are allowed in France to show how many Muslims live in the country, but the estimate is around five million - the largest Muslim population in western Europe. Many claim that widespread racism in France has made them second-class citizens there. One does not have to look far to see why they believe that.

People of North African or black African origin are almost invisible in politics and the business world in France. There are painfully few executives of ethnic origin in French boardrooms and most Arab entrepreneurs are still running corner shops rather than corporations.

Yazid Sebag, the 55-year-old chief executive of CS, a large communications group, and the sole person of North African origin to head a leading French company, says corporate France is "viscerally racist". Even on French television, with the exception of football matches and programmes imported from America, there are few black and brown faces to be seen.

And non-white minorities know that their names and the colour of their skin make it harder for them to find jobs, obtain decent housing or even enter nightclubs.

Sarkozy has vowed to rid France of "hoodlums" and "delinquents", while de Villepin has promised "an action plan for the suburbs" which he aims to present later this month.

Yesterday the authorities began to clear away the burned-out vehicles from around the tower blocks in Clichy-sous-Bois, but resentment smoulders. Groups of boys and young men still hang around outside the area's shops and cafés and treat strangers with deep suspicion, if not outright hostility. The violence over the past week has given some young men a rare sense of control - even if it is only of the streets where they live.

Many feel the state, at best, ignores them and, at worst, stands in the way of their attempts to escape. But experts and local officials believe it is going to take more than a carrot-and-stick approach to calm the simmering discontent which is growing like a cancer in the poor suburbs that ring many of France's richest cities.


Riots intensify, spread as French government talks tough


Paris (dpa) - As riots in France's suburban lower-class neighbourhoods intensified and spread, the French government on Saturday looked for solutions to the anger and frustration of the young Arabs and Africans who have set more than 2,000 vehicles on fire in the past nine days.

Labour Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin had charged him with "accelerating" plans for urban renewal that have long been on the drawing board.

"The urban renewal plan, we've been waiting for it for 25 years," Borloo said after an emergency meeting with Villepin and seven other ministers early Saturday.

However, the government also intends remaining firm with those who break the law, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Saturday.

"The government is unanimous on being firm," Sarkozy said. "Violence is not acceptable. Everyone must understand that setting fire to a car is unjust ... and will cost (the arsonist) dearly."

The comments came after the worst night of rioting in the latest wave of unrest in suburban Paris and other French cities, as small marauding bands of youths torched some 900 vehicles and police arrested 253 people for arson and property destruction.

The detainees included a 10-year-old boy with a Molotov cocktail in his hand, as warehouses and other business places went up in flames overnight.

All told, during nine days of unrest sparked by the accidental death by electrocution of two teenagers, an estimated 2,200 vehicles have been set on fire and more than 400 people have been detained, making it the worst urban unrest in France in a decade.

On Saturday, the parents of the two teenagers whose deaths on October 27 sparked the riots appealed for calm and an end to the violence.

"We are appealing for peace and a return to calm, the cessation of all violence and a civic sense on the part of everyone, because France does not deserve this," the parents said in a statement.

In addition, more than 600 people marched Saturday to protest against the rioting.

In Aulnay-sous-Bois, which has seen schools, buses and warehouses go up in flames, an estimated 500 people took to the streets after a call to march by the city's mayor, Gerard Gaudron.

Another 150 people marched in the town of Sevran, where on Wednesday a disabled 65-year-old woman was badly burned in an attack on the bus in which she was travelling. Quick-thinking by the driver saved her life.

The Communist mayor of Sevran, Stephan Gatignon, told the marchers, "Profound work must be carried out to change the suburbs, which can only be done with state aid."

The violence began to affect Paris proper when a Molotov cocktail was hurled late Friday at a police station in a northeastern district of the city with many high-rise, public housing estates. In addition, 13 cars were set on fire overnight in the French capital.

For the first time Friday night, police deployed helicopters to maintain oversight in the Paris suburbs. But, despite the deployment of 1,400 police and helicopters in the hardest-hit department Seine- Saint-Denis near Paris, the unrest grew in intensity and extent.

Arsonists torched an apartment building in Pierrefitte, near Paris, where 100 people were evacuated, as well as nurseries, businesses, warehouses, car dealerships, a city hall and a synagogue.

Most alarming for the French government, the unrest spread to other parts of the country, especially northern and western cities, such as Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Roubaix.

Outside the greater Paris area, nearly 250 cars were set ablaze overnight, as the crisis showed no signs of easing.

Paris Attorney-General Yves Bot told Europe 1 radio that the riots were not spontaneous outbursts of anger and frustration from within immigrant communities.

Rather, he said, they had been organised, with "genuine tactics of mobility" involving masked young men on motorcycles hurling petrol bombs, and Internet appeals for young people to join in in other towns and cities.

"The movement is mainly directed against the institutions of the republic - but it does not have any ethnic character," he added.

However, most observers and sociologists say that the unrest is the result of 30 years of France's failed integration policies.

Experts believe long-simmering resentment over government neglect, high unemployment and relegation to ghetto-like suburbs provided dry tinder for the flare-up of violence among the largely North African and African immigrant communities.

Sarkozy's tough language describing the rioting youths as "hoodlums" and "scum" as well as the apparent lobbing by riot police of a teargas grenade into a mosque in Clichy-sous-Bois are also considered causes for the intensity of the unrest.

On Saturday, Villepin told the rector of the Paris mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, that police had not intentionally targetted the mosque, but that it was the result of an "unfortunate accident".

Boubakeur went on to indirectly criticise Sarkozy by calling on the government to issue "words of peace".

"In these difficult circumstances, every word is important," said Boubakeur after meeting Villepin.

According to Amar Henni, who has trained social workers in the suburbs for 20 years, the interior minister's sharp language "challenged the youths on their territory".

"To defy Sarkozy is important for their reputation," Henni told the daily Liberation. "They have a contest over the Internet where they say, 'Hey, you in this city, we burned so many cars. How many cars did you burn?"

Left-wing opposition groups have demanded Sarkozy resign, charging that he stirred up more violence with his remarks and failed to provide sufficient security.


Paris seeks "hidden hands" in riots

Sat Nov 5, 2005 4:26 PM GMT


By Tom Heneghan

AULNAY-SOUS-BOIS, France (Reuters) - With every night that France's rundown suburbs burn, officials grow increasingly convinced that drug traffickers and Islamist militants are using frustrated youths to challenge law and order here.

Many people who watch their cars, shops and schools go up in flames, however, are not buying it. They blame unemployment, racial prejudice and widespread youth boredom for the outbursts.

Finding "hidden hands" behind the unrest seems like trying to catch the rioters as they rampage through the night. Some may get caught, but far more slip away in the darkness.

"Everybody is fed up seeing our town and our district trampled over daily by these organised gangs," declared Gerard Gaudron, conservative mayor of the northeastern Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois after an hour-long march against violence.

If the police don't crack down on these "hooligans," the embattled Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has warned, "who would give the orders? The mafias and the fundamentalists."

Fouzi Guendouz doesn't agree. "I don't think that's the real reason. It was just an excuse for kids to trash things," said Guendouz, 20, a French-born business student of Algerian origin.

"The politicians blame it on Islamists because the French are afraid of this religion. They think Islam equals bin Laden."

"Whoever knows who's behind this should come here and say it openly," shouted a defiant man in a Muslim prayer cap. "The problem is there's nothing for youths to do here."

Ahmed Hamidi, a white-bearded Moroccan electrician long resident in France, had no patience with politicians in Paris, which lies hardly an hour away but seems like another planet.

"All the politicians care about are laws for homosexuals and all those immoral things," he fumed. "They are against headscarves, against beards and against the mosques.


Aulnay-sous-Bois was calm overnight, but there were still many charred cars and delivery vans along the way as the "march against violence" snaked in between the faded housing blocks.

Acrid smoke still rose from the smouldering ruins of a large carpet and floor covering depot set ablaze by arsonists two days ago. Deep in an isolated industrial zone, the depot was clearly the target of arsonists who went out of their way to hit it.

The growing frequency of attacks like this, in contrast to the car and trash hopper blazes set by marauding youths earlier in the unrest, prompted Paris prosecutor Yves Bot to join the officials blaming the rioting on organised gangs.

"This is done in a way that gives every appearance of being coordinated," he told Europe 1 radio. "For the moment, we see there is a movement against official institutions but it does not seem to be taking an ethnic or religious turn."

Another student in Aulnay-sous-Bois, Jeremie Garrigues, 19, doubted this was the case. "If those kids had been organised, they would have done much worse -- they would have used guns and bombs against town hall and the prefecture," he argued.

"Those are all politicians' theories," remarked an Algerian woman named Samia, whose main concern was how frightened her children were by the unrest. "We live here in reality."


It's only on the fringes of the march, out of earshot of the multi-cultural crowd of concerned residents, that anybody tries to reconcile the opposing explanations.

"I'm sure there are drug dealers and Islamic radicals at work," said a middle-aged woman who requested anonymity. "Drugs are everywhere. They've arrested Islamic radicals nearby here."

A social worker who also withheld his name said some rioters seemed linked to the drug trade because they "drive nice cars and use mobile telephones I couldn't afford to buy.

"When the government is determined to fight this underground economy, there's bound to be resistance," he said. "There is no headquarters organising this, but they seem to be coordinating their activities among themselves by phone."

The charge that Islamist radicals were trying to exploit the unrest was a difficult one for local Muslims to handle, he said, because many were working to prevent unrest and admitting there were radicals in the crowds would discredit their community.

"They can't say that, so they don't say anything," he added.



MIM: Dhimmitude and Vichy redux - Instead of fighting French officials have capitulated to the Islamists are meeting with Imams begging them to do something to stop the violence. According to this article from the Dutch paper 'De Volkskrant', Villepin spoke to the head of the Grand Mosque in Paris and promised to "have a plan for the delapidated suburbs by the end of the month", while Sarkozy said that the" key to solving the crisis is through arrests".

Crisisberaad na rellen Frankrijk

De Franse premier De Villepin heeft zaterdag met ministers en een islamitische leider crisisoverleg gehouden in verband met de aanhoudende ongeregeldheden in Parijs en andere Franse steden. Het gaat om de ergste oproer in tien jaar, die zich als een olievlek over het land verspreidt.

In de nacht van vrijdag op zaterdag bereikten de rellen een tot nu toe ongekende omvang. Talrijke gebouwen, zoals scholen en winkels, en negenhonderd auto's gingen in vlammen op. De politie arresteerde 253 personen.

Het was voor de negende nacht op rij onrustig in talrijke voorsteden van Parijs waar veel (islamitische) allochtonen wonen. In een noordelijke buitenwijk moesten enkele honderden bewoners uit twee flatgebouwen worden geëvacueerd, omdat de relschoppers een ondergrondse garage in brand hadden gestoken. Verder brandden onder meer twee textielmagazijnen en een autoshowroom uit.

Ook uit andere grote steden als Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon, Lille en Rennes kwamen meldingen van incidenten. In een Noord-Franse plaats smeet een oproerkraaier een molotovcocktail in een volle bus.

De Villepin riep acht ministers bijeen voor crisisberaad. Ook sprak hij met het hoofd van de Grote Moskee van Parijs. De premier wil voor het eind van de maand een actieplan voor de verloederde buitenwijken presenteren.

‘Geweld is geen oplossing', benadrukte minister Sarkozy van Binnenlandse Zaken. Bij een bezoek aan een politiepost verzekerde hij de agenten dat ze op steun van de regering kunnen rekenen. ‘De sleutel tot de oplossing ligt in arrestaties', zei hij.

Sarkozy wordt er door de linkse oppositie van beschuldigd de rellen te hebben aangewakkerd door de relschoppers ‘uitschot' te noemen. De communistische partij eiste zijn aftreden. De socialistische PS, de grootste oppositiepartij, is hierop tegen omdat de relschoppers dan zouden worden beloond.

Net als Sarkozy meent de Parijse procureur generaal Yves Bot dat de rellen niet spontaan ontstaan. Bot repte voor radiozender Europa 1 van ‘georganiseerd geweld'. De openbaar aanklager zei dat jongeren van buiten Parijs op internet zijn opgeroepen het voorbeeld van de oproerkraaiers in de Franse hoofdstad te volgen.

De voorzitter van de politievakbond Synergie beschuldigde radicale islamieten ervan medeverantwoordelijk te zijn voor ‘deze nieuwe vorm van terrorisme in de steden'. Zij zouden jongeren hebben opgejut nadat de politie vorige week traangas had gebruikt bij een inzet bij een moskee. Maar ook drugshandelaren zouden de onrust misbruiken.

In sommige plaatsen gingen burgers de straat op om te protesteren tegen de brandstichters. In Aulnay-sous-Bois liepen zaterdag vijfhonderd mensen mee in een demonstratie tegen het nachtelijk geweld. ‘Nee tegen geweld, ja tegen dialoog', stond er op spandoeken die zij meedroegen.

Groepen jongeren gaan al sinds vorige week donderdag tekeer in de voorsteden. Op die dag werden in Clichy-sous-Bois twee islamitische jongens in een transformatorhuisje geëlektrocuteerd. Zij zouden op de vlucht voor de politie zijn geweest. De autoriteiten ontkennen dit.

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