Tuesday, November 27, 2007

urban guerillaz

The kids are unhappy again in France:

Rampaging youths rioted overnight in Paris' suburbs, hurling Molotov cocktails and setting fire to dozens of cars. At least 77 officers were injured and officers were fired at, a senior police union official said Tuesday.

The violence was more intense than during three weeks of rioting in 2005, said the official, Patrice Ribeiro. Police were shot at and are facing ''genuine urban guerillas with conventional weapons and hunting weapons,'' Ribeiro said.

Who, nevertheless, didn't manage to kill a single officer. A prerequisite to attaining "genuine urban guerilla" status should be the ability to inflict at least one fatality. But it was scary business even so:

Some officers were hit by shotgun pellets, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said. She said there were six serious injuries, ''people who notably were struck in the face and close to the eyes."

Oh noes! This is why I keep saying you can't have that air rifle for Christmas--you'll shoot your eye out.

The riots were triggered by the deaths of two teens killed in a crash with a police patrol car on Sunday in Villiers-le-Bel, a town of public housing blocks home to a mix of Arab, black and white residents in Paris' northern suburbs.

Residents claimed that officers left the crash scene without helping the teens, whose motorbike collided with the car. Officials cast doubt on the claim, but the internal police oversight agency was investigating.

. . .

A recent study by the state auditor's office indicated that money poured into poor French suburbs in recent decades had done little to solve problems vividly exposed by the 2005 riots, including discrimination, unemployment and alienation from mainstream society.

While there's no excuse for shooting people, including the police, it seems official France is better at talking up threats than it is at solving problems in the banlieues.

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