Wednesday, May 31, 2006

France Is Burning Again

Youth in France are rioting again, and one of the kids involved in the incident that sparked last fall's riots has been arrested for participating.

One of the young men briefly detained Tuesday night for throwing stones at police was also involved in the incident that sparked last year's riots. He was injured and two other youths were killed--all electrocuted--as they hid from police in a power substation.

The A.P. article appearing in the Washington Post describes the rioters as being of "immigrant origin", but I'm thinking these kids ain't Polish. The story concludes with this:
Tension in Montfermeil has remained high since the mayor last month banned teenagers from circulating in groups of more than three, and ordered youths under 16 to be accompanied by an adult in public. A court later overturned the bans after protests from civil liberties groups.

Here's some additional backstory that the A.P. thought too unimportant to report. First, the ban was overturned after complaints from civil liberties groups, suggesting that even in France civil liberties have been redefined as an absolute restriction on group self-defense. Last Monday, the mayor who issued the ban witnessed a group of "youths" attack a bus driver. The "youth" was identified by the mayor and arrested.

After the arrest, "youths" began the riots. They burned cars, "fought riot police for more than four hours, petrol-bombing buildings and smashing the windows of the town hall before gathering outside the mayor's house, which they pelted with bricks." The mayor and his family are now under police protection.

There's an additional quote here that I find depressing: "'Last night was not a real crisis, it wasn't that violent,' police spokesman Patrick Hamon said by telephone. 'It is too early to say what this might become.'"

This is known as defining social collapse down. It was a crisis when the mayor and his family were targeted with mass violence for turning in a kid who attacked a bus driver.

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