May 31, 2006

Violence Flares Again in France

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Left: Burning police car in Montfermeil; photo courtesy of BBC

(Paris) Several hundred youths clashed with police Tuesday night after setting fire to cars, trash bins, and brush piles in a Paris suburb that was the scene of violent riots last year.

At least four police officers were injured in the violence, and as many as 18 youths were arrested. The rioting took place in the suburbs of Montfermeil and Clichy-sous-Bois.

Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy reiterated that the government will not tolerate further trouble.

"I will not allow more disorderliness neither in Clichy-sous-Bois, nor in Montfermeil, nor anywhere else in the Republic," he said.

The violence appears to be a response of discontent against the mayor of Montfermeil, who imposed a curfew forbidding youths from 15 to 18 years of age from gathering in groups of more than three and requiring anyone under 16 to be accompanied by an adult on city streets after 8 pm.

The November riots, in which immigrant groups were among the majority of protesters, revolved around anger at racial discrimination, police harassment, and a lack of educational and employment prospects. French officials remain optimistic that a repeat of the widespread violence will not recur.

In all more than 10,000 vehicles and 200 public buildings were set on fire, 127 police officers were injured, and 4,500 people arrested; damage was estimated at $250 million by insurers.

7 comments:

-Sepp said...

The French are reaping what they've sewn. "Guestworkers" and other immigrant groups in France have been able to milk the social system dry for years and at the same time, refuse to learn the French language and, shun French culture while demanding theirs be respected. The French government has been appeasing these folks for years and it has gotten them nowhere. I got that information firsthand from friends I have there. Before long, we'll be seeing the same crap here in the USA.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

The Atlantic had an interesting article suggesting that our less-cushy benefits are one reason we haven't gotten as far as France (and the other Western European countries don't seem far behind in their fear/loathing of immigrants).

historymike said...

Sepp presents the ardent assimilationist perspective, and there are times when this makes sense.

I have always been an adherent of the "melting pot" view of immigration - and the longue durée tends to bear that out - but the years and decades that pass can be tumultuous.

Thanks for the link, NWTPG.

-Sepp said...

HM, my "assimilationist perspective" IS the melting pot ideal. Why come to the USA bringing your old country hatreds and intolerant culture and expect your new host country to bend over backwards to change / mold our way of life to fit the 3rd world mess they supposedly came here to escape from but, in essence, brought with them? When in Rome demand it be like home? I think not.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Trouble in Europe's version of paradise???

Say it ain't so!

What's a Frenchman to do?

I'll leave the next line to your imagination.

Dariush said...

Sepp: "'Guestworkers' and other immigrant groups in France have been able to milk the social system dry for years and at the same time, refuse to learn the French language and, shun French culture while demanding theirs be respected. The French government has been appeasing these folks for years and it has gotten them nowhere."

Actually, that's not quite right. "Language" isn't really a problem, since the vast majority of the population of these immigrant ghettoes come from (or their parents or grandparents came from) countries where French (or at least a kind of Creole facsimile of French) is either the first or second language, or the lingua franca (no pun intended) that allows disparate ethnic groups, tribes and clans to communicate with one another. We're talking Algeria, Morocco, Haiti, Martinique, Turkey, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal, Central African Republic, Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo (both of them), Rwanda, Burundi, etc. Turks are the only large population of immigrants in France who don't already speak French in their home country.


"HM, my 'assimilationist perspective' IS the melting pot ideal. Why come to the USA bringing your old country hatreds and intolerant culture and expect your new host country to bend over backwards to change / mold our way of life to fit the 3rd world mess they supposedly came here to escape from but, in essence, brought with them?"

Well, I strongly disagree with the idea that assimilation can only occur through deracination. In fact, I can't think of a single ethnic group that has emigrated to the US that has done so, to any significant degree, in order to become Americanized. One doesn't need to be a de-cultured rootless cosmopolitan in order to become American. But learning English and seeking to learn something of the culture as a whole is a good first step.

As I said before, whenever the topic shifts to immigration, I always point people to two essays which I believe sum up the situation better than most. Michael Lind's "To have and to have not", and Israel Shamir's "On the Move".

Kate said...

I didn't get from the story. I know Altun's history and the prior riots - but did he get arrested for throwing rocks during a riot or did the riot start when he was arrested?