Saturday, October 28, 2006

First Anniversary of France riots

Source: Few incidents on anniversary of Paris riots - CNN

A year after one of the worst moments of citizen unrest in the European country, a few isolated incidents occurred but nothing that spiraled out of control like last year. However, violence did occur: two buses were torched by youths and police arrested 25 people in French suburbs in the areas of urban decay that were inextricably linked to the riots last year.

Still, the French authorities are calling the first anniversary of the riots a “relatively quiet night.” About 4,000 police were dispatched to areas where they could react rapidly to put down any inciting activities before they spiraled out of control; after several attacks on police officers in poor suburbs in the past few weeks, authorities were concerned that the anniversary would bring severe rioting once more.

While around a thousand protesters marched in commemoration of two youths who were killed last year by police—whose deaths sparked the riots—and thus illustrating their continuing discontent with the government, France cites the 420 million euros (532.4 million USD) that it has reserved to improve life in the suburbs. However, critics say that the root cause of the riots—unemployment, discrimination and bad housing—continue to plague the suburbs. Unemployment in some areas is as high as 40%--four times the country’s national average.


- Is a financial commitment of 420 million euros a sufficient solution to the social problems faced by France? Is there a more appropriate alternative—legislation, perhaps--?

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