Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Riots are dying down

The state of emergency the French authorities have declared on the body of France seems to do the job.
France invoked a state of emergency on its mainland for the first time in half a century yesterday, arming police with broad new powers
Perhaps the riots were running out of steam regardless.
Cars burned and gangs threw firebombs at police in Toulouse, but overall the unrest seemed diminished as only 66 people had been arrested as of 11 p.m.
There were 330 arrests the previous night, and 395 the night before. Some of the suspects were as young as 12.
The material damage of the riots is tallying up:
The rioters have set fire to businesses, police stations and schools; fired weapons at police; and torched at least 6,000 cars.
The real damage are in community relations though: Faced with widespread lawlessness, some people in France have started defending their property. In Seine-Saint-Denis, a suburb of Paris rocked by several nights of unrest, a community group has started patrolling local properties armed with pepper spray and heavy flashlights. There's little sympathy in these neighbourhoods for the rioters.

Oh and the French state brings gifts!
Mr. de Villepin told parliament that economic stagnation in the ghettos will be addressed with the equivalent of $140-million in subsidies for local associations, 25,000 new government-funded jobs and 15 economic zones with lower taxes. He also promised to set up an anti-discrimination agency, saying it is necessary for the country to reconsider the way it has dealt with minorities".
Well, most of this is increasing the power of the central government. Basically the middle class pays for all this. And the civil servants get to distribute the goodies. Setting up economic zones with lower taxes is actually a nice idea. Especially as all Frenchmen and not just Muslims can live in these zones, theoretically. I will bet that CONTROLLING these economic zones will become a major bone of contention between muslim councils and Frenchmen.

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