Allons enfants de la Khalifate : Chirac apologises for 'inability of French society' to accept Muslims - PM Villepin 'surrenders'
Hospitals, schools and cars burned - UK warns citizens that 'everywhere in France can be dangerous'
"... Mahmoud Khabou, 20, the jobless son of Algerian immigrants, knows little of the world beyond the concrete housing projects that rise in bleak rows barely an hour's subway ride from the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and other grand monuments of Paris.
But he knows who his heroes are. "Osama bin Laden and Rodney King," he said, referring to the Al Qaeda leader and the African-American whose videotaped beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 spawned massive racial riots.
"One because he gives pride back to the Muslims," the young man asserted as he and a trio of friends stood near the charred ruins of a carpet shop. "The other because he was just a poor man, a 'nobody man' of color, but he caused a great city to burn."
"...A return to order is the absolute priority. The government has shown this. It will take all the steps necessary to ensure the protection of our citizens and to restore calm ... We see these events as a warning and as an appeal."
"...A government agency for equal opportunity will be created to facilitate the integration of residents of France's suburban ghettoes, the scene of most of the recent violence, Villepin said.
In addition, 5,000 additional teachers are to be hired in 2006 for the 1,200 trade schools in the economically fragile neighbourhoods, and efforts will be made to provide employment counselling to anyone living in these areas who requests it.
Unemployment rates for those under 25 living in France's impoverished public housing estates is over 40 per cent, twice that of the same age group in other neighbourhoods.
In addition, Villepin said the government would allocate an additional 100 million euros (118 million dollars) for NGOs and local associations working to assist the underprivileged in troubled areas.
"The republic has come to an hour of truth," Villepin told deputies. "What is at stake is our model of integration."
The government's action came after rioting raged into Tuesday morning throughout France. .."
"...Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, tacitly acknowledging that France has failed to live up to its egalitarian ideals, reached out to the heavily immigrant suburbs where the rioting began. He said France must make a priority of working against the discrimination that feeds the frustration of youths made to feel that they do not belong in France..".
Measures announced by Dominique de Villepin, after his speech in the French national assembly:
Leaders fiddle as France burns
France was struggling to overcome one of its gravest post-war crises last night as every major city faced the threat of fierce rioting that began 12 nights ago and now seems to have spun out of control.
Despite an assurance from Philippe Douste Blazy, the foreign minister, that France was "not a dangerous country", the spread of violence prompted the Foreign Office in London to warn travellers that trouble could break out "almost anywhere".
Dominique de Villepin, the beleaguered prime minister, announced that officials in riot-hit areas would be authorised to impose late-night curfews "wherever it is necessary" in a bid to halt the disturbances.
He rejected calls by a police union for troops to be sent in but said that 1,500 reservists were being called up and repeated an appeal to parents to keep adolescent rioters off the streets.
Although the disorder began on the intimidating sink estates of Paris's northern suburbs, trouble had been reported yesterday in the early hours from most regions of the country. Even areas such as Brittany, the Loire and Bordeaux, favoured by British holidaymakers and second- home hunters, have now been drawn into the worst wave of unrest in France since the spring revolt of 1968 set in motion the downfall of Gen Charles de Gaulle.
Yesterday the violence also claimed its first life. A 61-year-old man died in hospital three days after being beaten unconscious when he left his home in a northern Paris suburb intending to stop rubbish bins being set on fire.
Even before renewed disturbances broke out last night, figures showed that rioters had wrecked 4,700 vehicles, injured more than 100 police and rescue workers, and opened fire in at least six separate incidents.
Of the 1,200 people arrested, more than 30 - half of them juveniles - have already been jailed or given youth custody.
The police union Action Police CFTC called for curfews to be imposed in all riot-hit areas to combat the "civil war that spreads a little more every day". The mayor of one town, Raincy, north of Paris, announced a late-night street ban on children to "avoid a tragedy". The union also urged the government to send in troops to defeat the trouble-makers, mainly mobs of young people from poor estates dominated by Muslim families whose origins are in France's former colonies in north and sub-Saharan Africa.
Twenty-four hours earlier, a belated and much-criticised intervention by President Jacques Chirac, his first since the violence began, was followed by the worst night of rioting so far.
More than 1,400 vehicles were destroyed, two policemen were injured by birdshot and petrol bomb attacks were launched on schools, churches and public buildings.
Mr Chirac, who had spoken of a French republic resolved to show itself "stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear", made more conciliatory comments in a private meeting yesterday.
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia said the French president had admitted to him that "ghettoisation of youths of African or North African origin" was to be deplored, as was French society's "incapacity to fully accept them".
Pascal Clement, the justice minister, announced that three boys, aged 16, had been detained in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence for allegedly using their weblogs, hosted by a pop music radio station, to urge others to riot.
Police claim that ringleaders of the disturbances, which began in the northern Paris surburb of Clichy-sous-Bois on Oct 27 after two boys were accidentally electrocuted while apparently running from police, have become increasingly organised.
The Foreign Office yesterday warned Britons already in France or considering travelling there that the unrest could now break out "almost anywhere".
The new travel advisory painted a much more alarming picture of the threat to British citizens than a similar bulletin issued on Sunday.
Britons should also "avoid any demonstrations which may be taking place in and around" areas affected by the riots, said the Foreign Office website.
By Timothy Heritage
PARIS (Reuters) - France is wounded and faces a moment of truth, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Tuesday, after his government approved the use of curfews to quell 12 nights of rioting.
The protests, blamed on racism and unemployment in rundown suburbs, receded in the Paris region after shots were fired at police the previous night but continued unabated in other parts of France in the early hours of Tuesday, with youths torching more than 1,000 vehicles overnight.
"The Republic faces a moment of truth ... France is wounded. It cannot recognise itself in its streets and devastated areas, in these outbursts of hatred and violence which destroy and kill," Villepin told the lower house of parliament.
"A return to order is the absolute priority. The government has shown this. It will take all the steps necessary to ensure the protection of our citizens and to restore calm ... We see these events as a warning and as an appeal."
Five cars were torched in Brussels in what officials say could have been copycat attacks, but the rioting did not spread across the border. Even so, fears of riots erupting in other countries helped push down the value of the euro.
Villepin's conservative government adopted a decree at an emergency session under a 1955 law that allows regional government officials known as prefects to impose curfews if they consider it necessary.
The decree was due to take effect at 11 p.m. British time, after the Interior Ministry decides where prefects can impose curfews not widely seen here since the Algerian war of 1954-1962.
Villepin said 1,500 police would be brought in to back up the 8,000 officers already deployed in areas hit by unrest involving poor white youths as well as French-born citizens of Arab or African origin complaining of racism.
Outlining his plans to parliament, he promised to accelerate urban renewal programmes and vowed to help young people in poor suburbs by reducing unemployment and improving their education opportunities.
CHIRAC AND VILLEPIN UNDER PRESSURE
President Jacques Chirac said the measures were needed to restore order but pressure is mounting on him and Villepin over France's worst unrest in decades. The president has said little in public about the violence, in which one man has been killed.
"The absence of the president is remarkable in this period we're going through," said Francois Bayrou, head of a centrist party that is critical of the conservative government.
Responding to Villepin's speech, Socialist Party deputy Jean-Marc Ayrault prompted boos from conservative deputies by telling parliament: "Your government, Mr. Prime Minister ... bears heavy responsibility over this outburst of passions."
Mayors of riot-hit towns welcomed the government's tougher line. A town east of Paris imposed its own curfew on minors on Monday evening and another to the west of the capital organised citizens' patrols to help the police.
But some mayors asked what another measure announced by Villepin -- extended powers for them -- would mean in practice.
"Every time they announce more powers for mayors, they cut the funds," complained Jean-Christophe Lagarde, mayor of the northeastern Paris suburb of Drancy.
The opposition Socialists said Villepin had not done enough to give hope to those people in areas hit by the unrest.
Although Villepin first announced his plans to end the unrest on Monday evening, new violence erupted overnight.
Some 1,173 vehicles were torched compared to 1,408 on Sunday night, the Interior Ministry said. At least four police were hurt, compared with 36 on Sunday, and 330 rioters were detained.
The unrest hit Toulouse, Lille and Strasbourg as well as some Paris suburbs, where violence began on October 27 after two youths were accidentally electrocuted trying to flee police.
The euro's fall highlighted concerns abroad, at one point falling to a two-year low against the dollar.
Officials in Belgium played down the violence there, although there were minor arson incidents in Sint Niklaas in the north and Liege in the east as well as in the capital.
But Brussels fire department spokesman Francis Boileau said: "Whoever set fire to the cars must have been influenced by the footage of what is going on in France."
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan urged Turkish immigrants living in Europe to avoid getting caught up in riots. Influential Muslim cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi called for calm and urged the French government to address the root causes.