Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The situation on the ground in Paris

Looks like The Associated Press has finally come around to noticing that there sure a lot of Muslims living around the area where a fifth night of rioting has taken place.

Police fired tear gas canisters and rioters hurled Molotov cocktails as violence hit a poor Paris suburb for the fifth straight night in unrest that officials said had also spread to neighbouring towns.

The local prefecture said that the levels of violence in the troubled suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois were lower than on previous nights.

However 12 people were arrested in the town, which has a large Muslim community, during a night in which a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a police station and 11 cars and trash cans were torched.

Though the level of violence seemed to be at a lesser notch, there were other disquieting facts reported by police from nearby suburbs:

In another worrying development, Monday night was the first time that the unrest was reported to have spread to neighbouring areas of the Seine-Saint-Denis region abutting Paris.

Just after midnight in nearby Montfermeil, the municipal police garage was set ablaze and two cars destroyed, a prefecture spokesman said.

Elsewhere in the towns of Sevran and Aulnay-sous-Bois police were subjected to "stone-throwing" gangs but there were no injuries, according to the local prefecture. Small fires were also lit in the towns.

One police source told AFP that "the Clichy rioters are being copied in Sevran, Neuilly-sur-Marne and Bondy", where he said vehicles were torched.

However the prefecture described the latest trouble as "harassment" by small groups of 10 or 15 people rather than the "rioting" seen last week.

This is exactly how a civil rebellion spreads.

We're praying for France right now because there's not a lot else we can do.


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