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It looks as if the rioting in France has now spread to nine cities plus several districts within Paris. What's even worse is that ten policemen were shot this evening with two of them seriously wounded.

Up until now the rioters have been targeting mainly cars and not people (although one group did set alight a disabled woman getting off a bus a few days ago which certainly didn't help their 'cause').

I can forsee the big problem really hitting if the police do decide to use maximum force and one (or more) of the rioters get killed. Now regardless whether or not some may deserve 'ultimate force' (for instance idiots who go round setting on fire disabled people) if a single rioter gets killed the violence will only intensify and spread to even more areas which are currently unaffected.

I hope things get sorted soon. If the current level of violence carries on over the next few days then France will have a really serious problem and the initial reasons for the rioting will not be the impetus any further. Added to that it's a long weekend in France next week as Friday 11th November is a National Holiday. If the riots continue Monday through Wednesday you can be guaranteed they'll get even worse over a three day break :(

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
bridiep
Nov. 7th, 2005 07:56 am (UTC)
From what I've heard, the authorities arn't helping themselves by using inflammatory terms like 'scum' to describe the perpetrators. France's institutionalised racism has always been very thinly veneered.
karkehan
Nov. 7th, 2005 08:58 am (UTC)
Yep - the racist divide in France has been brewing for some time - it was just waiting for something like this to blow it's lid. Putting the lid back on is not going to be that easy...
angusabranson
Nov. 7th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
He didn't actually use the words 'scum' - that was an advantageous interpretation that a section of the rioters and some media took hold of. He actually called the rioters a 'rabble'. I had his exact quote yesterday but can't find it now.

But I'll agree that France has got institutionalised racism, sexism and homophobia that has just been boiling under the surface waiting to be released.
angusabranson
Nov. 7th, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC)
Found the link :p

French Society At Crossroads; BBC News Online http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4412968.stm
............
In fact his rhetoric, while undoubtedly uncompromising and hardline, has been wilfully misinterpreted, and not just by the rioters.

To describe the bands of youths rampaging through the suburbs as "yobs" or "rabble" - which he did - is not quite the same as describing all inhabitants of the suburbs as "scum", which is how it has sometimes come across in the media.
............
angelalyce
Nov. 7th, 2005 08:27 am (UTC)
Seems to me that the ones who are taking it a bit too far are the ones who ar using the riots as an excuse to be pricks, if that makes any sense?..
meganintheuk
Nov. 7th, 2005 09:07 am (UTC)
yeah... a similar bunch of people were up in Edinburgh for the G8 Conference. They thought something might kick off so went up "to be part of it"
oldson
Nov. 7th, 2005 09:31 am (UTC)
In any given riot, you have one part peacible protestors, one part professional agitators, and at the end of the day, a mob is a creature with a few hundred legs and no brain, many people react with stupidity and violence because they don't want to be singled out as someone who's not actively "with it".

Herd mentality, never mistake humans in a pack for intelligent creatures :(

Still, could be worse, it's not spreading as far as it could have done, and no matter what the institutionalised racism comes down to, if people weren't breaking the law, they wouldn't be getting called names (and vice versa), blame on both sides I feel.

As for a shoot to kill policy inflaming tensions, it depends on how its handled. If the police shoot as they've been trained to, which is bottom half of legs below knee caps, fatalities are likely to be low, and if the police are willing to follow it through, then the riot will be over. The problem occurs if you have sporadic gunfire, not concerted and focussed quelling, an isolated incident of one cop capping off someone will spark the flame, a clear headed warning, second warning, one in the foot policy tends to stop any of the non-fanatics in the crowd.

As for the fanatics *shrug* it's what daysticks and patrol wagons were invented for.

Before anyone thinks I'm a fascist or something similar, I'm not, I've just been on both sides of the line, and maybe I'm a little older and wiser than I used to be, and having to shepherd women and children across riot zones quells any feelings that armed protests tend to help the cause. Besides, I recall what I was like when I was one of the undesirables, it took a daystick and three big lads to put me down then, I would presume that those involved in the riots in france are no different.

Pray for the best, expect the worst, hope that Frank Castle doesn't have a summer home in Paris.
riksowden
Nov. 7th, 2005 11:00 am (UTC)
Okay i have to admit that i'm confused on this Angus, can you please help me understand. I'm given to understand that the spark was 2 teenagers being tasered by police in Paris, is that right?

What are these riots about, and what are the rioters hoping to achieve?
oldson
Nov. 7th, 2005 12:13 pm (UTC)
The spark was 2 teenagers being supposedly chased by police and electrocuting themselves on an unmodulated electric fence. That's all they needed, the area it happened in was already on a knife edge.
riksowden
Nov. 7th, 2005 12:21 pm (UTC)
Okay, thanks for that...but why was it on a knife edge?

I'm really not up on whats going on in France, and i think i'd rather like to be!
angusabranson
Nov. 7th, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC)
France has got one of the worst integration policies within Europe and for the last four decades things have just been getting worse. There is a ring around most major cities which is basically concrete tower block hell which all the immgrants, and their decsendents, are housed in less than fine conditions.

People who have 'immigrant-sounding' names are usually instantly turned down for jobs and the government (especially this right-wing one) has been quite harsh in cutting unemployment benefits and other social securities.

There's obviosly a lot mroe to it than that but I'm at work atm and we're pretty busy so can't get into full explanation. But basically this has been brewing for years and certainly hasn't come as a surprise. Sorry.
oldson
Nov. 7th, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC)
There have been tensions (racial, economical, social, take your pick) going on in the poorer quarters of france for quite some time, a lot of the people housed in the areas where the incidents have been occurring are those who didn't manage to make it across to england and at the risk of sounding like something of an imperialist, refugees take a far lower priority in France than they do in England. The tenements and housing allocated there is not very far removed from what most of them have fled from, so in many cases it's a case of frying pan to fire. It does not take much to whip up a smouldering resentment to a good sized flame, although in due deference, a lot of the fighting has been rioters against those still living in the area who just want to be left alone.

To quote one news article

"The growing violence is forcing France to confront long-simmering anger in its suburbs, where many Africans and their French-born children live on society's margins, struggling with high unemployment, racial discrimination and despair — fertile terrain for crime of all sorts as well as for Muslim extremists offering frustrated youths a way out. France, with some 5 million Muslims, has the largest Islamic population in Western Europe"

And another

"France's biggest Muslim fundamentalist organization, the Union for Islamic Organizations of France, issued a fatwa, or religious decree. It forbade all those "who seek divine grace from taking part in any action that blindly strikes private or public property or can harm others"

Admirable, but one more thing on the list for the extremists to pick up on :(

Given the size and nature of the things going on, coupled with the first fatality just having been announced, I would suspect professional Agitators behind it, particularly as there are now other riots sparking off in areas (Brussels for example) that were nowhere near the original spark points.

Not the best day for calm heads. Every death (on either side) will fan the flames, if a protester is killed, the agitators point to the oppressors of the state, if a policeman is killed, the agitators crow about the righteousness of their victory, which in turn lowers the attitude from the police.

Need a pair of god sized asbestos gloves, y'know?
angusabranson
Nov. 7th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
**There have been tensions (racial, economical, social, take your pick) going on in the poorer quarters of france for quite some time, a lot of the people housed in the areas where the incidents have been occurring are those who didn't manage to make it across to england**

Not entriely true. France has an imperialistic past the same as Britian and many of the 'immigrants' are from former French colonies (most notably Algeria). Few of these would have considered the UK as a living option as they would have already been fluent in French.

**Given the size and nature of the things going on, coupled with the first fatality just having been announced, I would suspect professional Agitators behind it, particularly as there are now other riots sparking off in areas (Brussels for example) that were nowhere near the original spark points.**

There is most certainly other 'interests' jumping onto the bandwagon. That became clear after Day 3 and with the continued build-up each day afterwards so far the situation isn't about two young boys electrocuting themselves in a place they knew they shouldn't be anymore.

I hadn't heard about Brussels. If trouble does spill across the borders then the next most likely countries I can imagine having problems would be Germany and Italy.
oldson
Nov. 7th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
>Not entriely true. France has an imperialistic past the same as >Britian and many of the 'immigrants' are from former French colonies >(most notably Algeria). Few of these would have considered the UK as >a living option as they would have already been fluent in French.

Entirely, but most of the people in that particular group aren't the ones causing problems, it's the one's who aren't happy to live there, the ones who don't have any direct lineage or link to the area.

>There is most certainly other 'interests' jumping onto the >bandwagon. That became clear after Day 3 and with the continued >build-up each day afterwards so far the situation isn't about two >young boys electrocuting themselves in a place they knew they >shouldn't be anymore.

Exactly so.

>I hadn't heard about Brussels. If trouble does spill across the >borders then the next most likely countries I can imagine having >problems would be Germany and Italy.

Italy and Germany have a far harder line on uprisings and such, any such protests in Germany (unless they get the whole country jumping at once) will be stepped on neatly and orderly. Similarly Italy (perhaps not so neatly, but certainly as quickly).

A swift response to force is always the best option, it was the dithering that has caused what now runs rampant through france.
angusabranson
Nov. 7th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
**Entirely, but most of the people in that particular group aren't the ones causing problems, it's the one's who aren't happy to live there, the ones who don't have any direct lineage or link to the area.**

Many are the children of the original immigrants as far as I understand.
oldson
Nov. 7th, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
Most of the reports I've been hearing have had a slant towards people currently going through immigration.

Granted, it's most likely spin after the french government got hold of it, but that's the way of any news :)

*shrug* Still a whole lot of burning stuff out there, no matter who's doing it, the result is the same :(
danny_e11
Nov. 7th, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC)
Italy and Germany have a far harder line on uprisings and such, any such protests in Germany (unless they get the whole country jumping at once) will be stepped on neatly and orderly. Similarly Italy (perhaps not so neatly, but certainly as quickly).

Translation: Italy has a quasi-fascist government in power and will unleash the pigs on any sign of unrest like it's done other times in the past. And will it work? will it fuck! The italian pigs have a fantastic track record over the last 35/40 years of making things worse with their inept handling of situations - most recent example springing to mind is the G8 trouble in Genoa 4 years ago, where the reaction of the coppers was completely disproportionate and STILL failed to stop a single one of the (very few) real troublemakers who where there (Yes, I was there too and was caught right in the middle of it, though managed to escape unscathed much to my surprise) and resulted in 1 death and 100s of people randomly arrested and beaten up in copshops, only to be released without charges in over 90% of the case - COS THEY'RE ONLY CRIME HAD ACTUALLY BEEN BEING IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME. But I can go much further back in time, right back to the student and workers marches of the late 60s and the sistematically midless and violent reaction of the coppers then, which if it didn't generate, certainly helped the shift of many people towards the radical views which then brought about the Red Brigades and all the other armed groups and the country into a scenario similar to that of a civil war (I could quote books and articles on this, but all my sources are in Italian so I doubt they'll be any help).

indiscriminate violent reaction of the pigs NEVER works, it only serves the purpose of making more people angry and potentially get them to join in, or at least turn a blind eye and protect the rioters. Though this country is far from perfect I think it's certainly not the examples of italy and similar countries that should be followed when handling problems of this sort. Sure the coppers have to do something to stop the violence, but a) they must make sure they ONLY hit the right targets (don't ask me how to do it,I ain't one of them and it's not my job to prevent crowd trouble) and b) the government and institutions have to ask themselves some serious questions on what generated the whole thing in the first place.

Sorry if it sounds like a rant, nothing personal, just my way of expressing things.

PS and before anyone says anything, I grew up in Italy and have been to an extent involved in political demos and protests and personally know several people who were in the (much bigger and serious) ones of the 60s and 70s - just in case people should think I don't know what I'm talking about.
oldson
Nov. 7th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
>Translation: Italy has a quasi-fascist government in power

:) I didn't want to say that just in case there were any italians listening who might have taken umbrage.

>but all my sources are in Italian so I doubt they'll be any help).

Translate?

>indiscriminate violent reaction of the pigs NEVER works,

No arguments there, a decisive and more to the point, accurate strike at the people involved is the only way to do it, but at this point, as I've said before, you can't take the head off a mob because the controlling intelligence is well away by the time the first charge goes off.

>Sure the coppers have to do something to stop the violence, but a) >they must make sure they ONLY hit the right targets (don't ask me >how to do it,I ain't one of them and it's not my job to prevent >crowd trouble) and b) the government and institutions have to ask >themselves some serious questions on what generated the whole thing >in the first place.

Entirely, however, from experience, the only way you stop a mob is with superior force, a human being is a rational person, 100 in a group is a mess waiting to kill something.

Standard ground tactics only work when you have deterrant in place to back up the verbal. You can't send in one man with a microphone saying "please stop" if you don't have the 300 men with sticks behind him to back up the "or else".

The only time when the please stop approach works is when there are no agitators in the crowd, and that's very rarely these days.

Secondly, I'll probably repeat it a number of times, by the time somethings got to mob stage, there's no surgical strike option, you display overwhelming force and hope that they back down, if they don't, you have to use that force or it becomes meaningless for every occasion after that.

And no, I'm not condoning violence against innocents, what I'm saying is that the aforementioned innocents should be breaking and running at the first sign of armed police, if your protest needs violence to get the point across, it was not open for debate in the first place. Learn the maxim of running like Firk, it works.

Case in point, millenium eve, 1999, the police channelled all the people down the wrong part of the strand and ended up with 10000 people in an area designed to accomodate no more than 1000 at a time, thanks to a powerful presence and no desire for the crowd (even the drunks) to get rowdy, it all filed away and no injuries, not even a mention on the news, however, all it would have taken is one cop getting glassed or something similar, and that could have flashed.

>Sorry if it sounds like a rant, nothing personal, just my way of >expressing things.

WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY :D

>just in case people should think I don't know what I'm talking about.

I have a friend who runs a swordsmanship school over there, I know exactly where you're coming from, the things that go on behind the borders of any given country, any given sunday, can only be seen from behind those borders, italy is very much a case in point.

Here's hoping it doesn't get as far as where you are.

All the best
danny_e11
Nov. 7th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
>but all my sources are in Italian so I doubt they'll be any help).

Translate?


I'm afraid we're talking books or fairly long articles here (as well as things told me by people who "where there" - which don't really count as documentable sources) and although I happen to be a translator by profession unfortunately I have to give priority to the much more boring texts that pay me bills and rent ;-)

I have a friend who runs a swordsmanship school over there, I know exactly where you're coming from, the things that go on behind the borders of any given country, any given sunday, can only be seen from behind those borders, italy is very much a case in point.

Here's hoping it doesn't get as far as where you are.


er, I'm in East London actually, and very happily so ;-) been here quite a while and have NO desire to go back to Italy other than for a few days a year to visit my parents :-)
I agree entirely on the need to *know* a place (living there or having spent a sufficient amount of time in the place) to really understand how things work though.

All the best to you too and, yes, let's hope the trouble doesn't get to this side of the channel! (though I don't think it will, not in this instance anyway, the situation here - though VEEERY far from ideal - is very different from France, as you have pointed out in a previous post)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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