- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 12, 2005

PARIS — Thousands of Parisian police guarded the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees and train stations yesterday, as part of emergency measures enacted in response to text messages and Internet postings that called for “violent actions” in the capital.

In Lyon, France’s third-largest city, police fired tear gas to disperse stone-hurling youths at the historic Place Bellecour. It was the first time in 17 days of unrest that youths clashed with police in a major city.

Hours earlier, authorities had announced a weekend curfew in Lyon, barring youths under 18 from being outside without adult supervision between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The emergency measures in Paris occurred a day after cell-phone text messages and Internet blog postings called for “violent actions” in Paris last night. Authorities banned public gatherings considered risky in an effort to keep the unrest from reaching inside the capital.

“This is not a rumor,” National Police Chief Michel Gaudin said. “One can easily imagine the places where we must be highly vigilant.” No trouble was reported in Paris several hours after nightfall.

Rioting, primarily by Muslim youths in neighborhoods dominated by first- and second-generation immigrants, has weakened in intensity since the government declared a state of emergency Tuesday. The emergency empowers regions to impose curfews and conduct house searches.

The violence started in the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois on Oct. 27 when about 100 youths rioted to protest the accidental deaths of two Muslim teens who were electrocuted while hiding from police in an electricity substation.

The turmoil, marked by arson and clashes with police, quickly spread across France in housing projects plagued by unemployment and alienation. The unrest has forced France to confront its failure to integrate minorities and the anger simmering among its large African and Arab communities.

Some 40 towns, suburbs and small cities have imposed curfews on minors.

Paris police banned public gatherings that could “provoke or encourage disorder” from 10 a.m. yesterday to 8 a.m. today. It was the first such ban in the French capital in at least a decade, said police spokesman Hugo Mahboubi.

Calls for peace and political change mounted.

Several hundred people demonstrated against the state of emergency in Paris’ Latin Quarter, a gathering that police allowed because it was not deemed risky. Under tight police surveillance, the protesters called the new security measures a “provocation” that would not resolve the social and economic problems underlying the unrest.

The protesters, many from left-wing political groups and communist-backed unions, called for the resignation of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been accused of inflaming the violence by calling troublemakers “scum.” A similar rally in the southern city of Toulouse drew about 700 people.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide