November 8, 2005

Curfews after 11 days of rioting?

The news of the french riots started filtering into mainstream news after the 6th night of mayhem. The immediate thought was: 6 nights?! Why have there been no curfews imposed in the trouble-torn areas? After the 7th day, why hasn't the military been brought in to stop this rascals?
Only after 11 days of rioting has France allowed authorities to impose curfews. That's one heck of a speedy response, dude! What kind of an idiot govt is running France? Seems they want to keep their tag of "surrender" intact. If such a thing happened in the US, the Swat and National Guard would be out in 2 days. In India too, it would take 1 day to impose curfews and bring out the army to restore control. But in France, its "highly unusual" for a curfew to be imposed. Shame on France for allowing the riots to continue for so many days. They can send their army to the congo basin and ivory coast but they are too pussy-footed to deploy them within their own country?
Its just playing into the hands of extremist islamists.
France's inability to quell the mayhem shaking its cities was thrown into sharp relief, as the government took the dramatic step of letting local authorities impose curfews amid mounting doubts about the effectiveness of the nation's centralized policing system.

In an interview on French television, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said France was invoking a 1955 law permitting local law-enforcement chiefs known as "prefects" to place communities under curfew "wherever necessary." He also said he was calling up 1,500 police reservists, to bring the total force mobilized on the riots to 9,500 officers.

Asked whether France was considering calling out the army, he said: "We're not at that point yet." But he added: "At each stage, we will take the measures necessary to restore order throughout the entire country."

Just before he spoke, the middle-class town of Le Raincy, which abuts some of the troubled suburbs northwest of Paris, was the first to announce a curfew, a move other municipalities indicated they might follow.

The highly unusual measures mark a turning point in the crisis, with the French state moving one step short of martial law. The 1955 law invoked last night was passed to impose a state of emergency during Algeria's war of independence from France, and hasn't been used in mainland France since that conflict. Mr. de Villepin said the curfews and call-up of reservists "mark the gravity of things."

Bands of young men, mostly from Muslim neighborhoods in poor urban areas, have been rioting nightly for almost two weeks. France Monday reported its first fatality from the riots since two teens hiding from police were accidentally electrocuted Oct. 27 in a power substation. Scores of policemen were wounded in clashes Sunday night. The rioting had spread to 300 French towns as of early Monday.

So far, rioters have burned 4,700 vehicles, and 77 policemen have been injured. Two officers have been hospitalized, but their condition isn't life-threatening, said a spokesman for the national police. A total of 1,220 people have been arrested.

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