"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Fears for France (III)

I had an anonymous email from a reader, claiming to be French, who disputed my assertion earlier this week that immigrant-on-French ethnic violence amounted to a civil uprising in parts of the country.

Timely, then, are three stories. The first is a slightly more detailed version of one I posted last time, involving police officers being ambushed after work, frisked and beaten up:
June 30, 2009 — Agence France-Presse — Two off-duty policemen were assaulted and beaten up tonight shortly after leaving the police station of Grigny (Seine-Saint-Denis), say police sources. [The Seine-Saint-Denis district, in the northern suburbs of Paris, has practically become a foreign enclave, populated by Arabs and black Africans. There is little doubt that the perpetrators are not aboriginal French.]

According to this source, the aggressors had been “waiting” for their victims, and were “perfectly aware that they were policemen”.

The two policemen had left the police station in a private car belonging to one of them. One hundred meters along they stopped, after a trailing car flashed its headlights at them. Several men got out of the following car. They insulted the policemen and frisked them, looking for their guns, which they had left at the police station. Then the policemen were beaten up.

Another police car happened to drive by, making the aggressors flee.
The second, which makes the term 'civil unrest' seem a little understated:

On Friday, a grenade was hurled at a police station in the 3rd arrondissement of Marseille. No one was injured, but the building and several cars were damaged.

No arrests have yet been made.

The practice of targeting the police as revenge is becoming common place in France, not only in terms of such incidents as described above, but also opening fire on police vehicles, and trying to 'liberate' prisoners in the back of police vans.

It is quite clear that a large minority in France do not recognise the authority of the police or the state.

Meanwhile, rioters are on trial for the violence which gripped Villiers-le-Bel in 2007 after the deaths of two youths, whose mini motorbike collided with a police car.

Seventy seven police officers were injured in the violence - and the authorities fear it may flare up again as the trial stirs memories.

The prosecution have highlighted the organisation of the campaign of violence against the police, and the fact that the rioters had a will to kill officers for revenge. The ten on trial this week are there for hurling missiles and driving cars at the police; five accused of firing guns at them will go on trial later.

Youths organised the areas into sectors and groups, smashed street lights to hinder observation of their activities, and listened in to police radio broadcasts in order to set up ambushes.

In fact, the only thing that prevents this from being classed as civil war is the fact that the youths are not very well armed (although this is changing - attacks with AK-47s have been reported on some estates) and to date, no police officers have been killed in the violence - although only by sheer luck it would seem.

If any reader who is or can speak French stumbles across a story in this vein and wishes to translate and submit it, I would be most grateful.

1 comment:

Solkhar said...


I do not have time to translate but it is worth it to get an alternative perspective which is the contributions of French-Arabs, the indelibile links created over the centuries and the mutual support francaphone nations have for each other that is similar to the British Commonwealth.

That is pretty impressive considering the often violent breakups that occured in some locations - all but forgotten now.