…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
It is hot in Northern Hemisphere, it is ramadan, so why not celebrate multiculturalism in the increasingly familiar manner?
PARIS, Aug 16 (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande must perform a delicate balancing act after riots in the French city of Amiens, ensuring a tough stance on crime without alienating left-wing supporters or reviving memories of his hardline predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.
One gathers that the left-wing supporters love to see schools and their own cars burning.
Hollande pledged zero tolerance after the two days of unrest in Amiens left 17 police officers injured and sparked fears of a repeat of the urban riots which swept France in 2005, in the first security challenge of his three-month-old presidency.
The restive Fafet neighbourhood in the northern city of Amiens was calm for a second straight night but some on France’s left voiced unease at the sight of a Socialist government, elected in May on pledges of helping the poor inhabitants of urban ghettos, deploying hundreds of riot police there.
Zero tolerance of “racial hate” reporting, one imagines. The Socialist government definitely failed the “poor inhabitants of urban ghettos”, forcing them to buy their own petrol and matches.
A poll for right-leaning newspaper Le Figaro on Saturday, before the riots began, showed only 35 percent trusted Hollande on public safety. Hollande had savaged Sarkozy’s tough stance on delinquency during the campaign for May’s presidential runoff.
That, unfortunately, seems to be the par for the course for the so called conservative politicians – a right wing rhetoric and a left wing inaction.
His own scooter?
Thomas Lavielle, an official from the local prefect’s office, said further arrests were expected as police examined ballistics evidence, DNA traces and video footage to build a cast-iron case against the rioters.
Local Socialist mayor Gilles Demailly said that rampant unemployment – running as high as 45 percent in Fafet – was at the root of the problem.
The Australian media mostly ignore the inconvenient truths, but The Australian of 16-08 brought itself to do some “reporting”, by reprinting in toto The Times:
POLICE are on high alert in France amid fears that riots in the northern city of Amiens could spread through the country’s tinderbox suburbs against a backdrop of racial tension. In a sign of his alarm, President Francois Hollande interrupted his holiday to promise a tough response to the youths who have brought havoc to council estates.
Just testosterone driven teenagers, naturally.
Mr Hollande was speaking as the French awoke to discover scenes of destruction in the usually calm city, where a school and a sports centre were razed in clashes between about 100 rioters and 150 police in the early hours of yesterday.
Sixteen officers were injured as youths aimed buckshot and fireworks at them and hurled flagstones and furniture from the windows of empty flats in council blocks. Police failed to make any arrests.
Leaving aside the obvious idiocy of “aimed buckshot” (the utter ignorance of firearms by journalists never ceases to amaze me. Of course, it matches their ignorance of just about everything else)
At least three drivers were pulled from their cars, which were used, along with dozens of dustbins, to form barricades. About a dozen other vehicles were burnt in the violence, which follows months of tension in a city otherwise known best for its 13th-century cathedral. Police responded by firing flashballs and teargas at the rioters.
The word is “flash-bang”, simpletons. At least the French police did something. Ours would go on strike for the danger money.
A farmer who lives in a village a mile from the estates described the shock as rural France came face to face with urban anger. “It felt like we were in a Western,” said the cereal producer, who asked not to be named. “There was shooting all over the place and the smell of burning rubber everywhere.
“I went out when I heard people driving up to the farm at about midnight. I thought they were local folk, but then I saw they had masks covering their faces. I got into my tractor to get away, but they threw iron bars at the windows, which exploded.”
Sylvie Ramet, the head teacher at Voltaire primary school, was stunned to discover the blackened remains of the building after the night’s violence. “There are no words to describe what I feel. I’m weak at the knees. The place where I work has just been annihilated. It’s just senseless to attack a school in this way. It’s incomprehensible.”
The best way to get educated. Burn the school.
A blog posted on a French website, apparently by one of the rioters, who called himself 8Z, included a video that showed dozens of youths cheering as they set fire to dustbins.
The blog portrayed the council estates of Amiens as the setting for high unemployment and “oppression by fascist police” – a familiar complaint from immigrant community youths, who say that they are targeted under stop-and-search policies.
It described the rioters as “the opposition” and ran through the list of the mostly Muslim former French colonies from which it said they were from: “Algerians, Tunisians, Moroccans, Gabonese, Malians and Cameroonians, we are all here and we are opposing.”
In practice, most are the children of immigrants, according to local media.
Children of asylum seekers, in PC speak, so to speak.
The council estates of north Amiens, like many in France, are the scene for regular clashes between police and youths, said Mr Demailly. None, however, has been on such as scale, he said.
Tension flared on Sunday when police were called to an estate in northern Amiens after reports that youths were loading fireworks into a car. They also discovered the ingredients for petrol bombs – empty bottles and a canister of petrol.
The intervention infuriated residents, many of whom were attending a wake for a 20-year-old man who died in a traffic accident last week. A march involving 150 people ended in scuffles. That appears to have been the spark for full-scale rioting at nightfall.
You are not allowed to attend a wake without molotov cocktails? Racist!
The clashes in Amiens follow days of violence between rival gangs in Toulouse, southwestern France, raising fears that the country’s impoverished suburbs could descend into turmoil. Mr Hollande, who celebrated 100 days in office this week, was quick to try to prevent a repeat of the 2005 riots that spread from the Paris region across estates throughout the country.
“The state will mobilise all its means to combat these violent acts,” he said. “Security is not only a priority for us, it is an obligation.”
He sent Manuel Valls, his tough- talking Interior Minister, to Amiens to deliver his message of firmness. Mr Valls was booed as residents voiced their exasperation with the Paris elite. “Stop running away from us. Give us back our rights,” shouted one man.