While I was away travelling, the Islamic riots in the Paris suburbs expanded to the city’s interior and other parts of the country. Now, it seems that expansion is giving way to escalation.
In what has grown into a national crisis and continues to escalate, rioters in France fired on police officers during an 11th night of destruction, wounding 10 officers.
About 200 youths were throwing stones and other projectiles at police in Grigny, south of Paris, on Sunday, police said.
Some of the rioters then fired at officers with shotguns. Two of the 10 injured officers were seriously hurt.
The incident came just hours after French President Jacques Chirac made his first public address since the riots began. He said restoring order was “an absolute priority” as the violence reached central Paris for the first time.
“The law must have the last word,” Chirac said Sunday, pledging that security measures would be reinforced. Those sowing “violence or fear” will be “arrested, judged and punished.”
Chirac made the statement after a security meeting of his top ministers. He has come under pressure by opposition politicians who accuse him of failing to intervene publicly.
But police have already made hundreds of arrests, and rioters continue to ignore Chirac’s warnings as gangs of youths rampage the city.
On Sunday some business owners called on Chirac to summon the military to stamp out the riots and calm the city, before arsonists begin to attack buildings as well.
While the riots began in the suburbs outside Paris, Sunday was the first time the destruction reached into the heart of the city. Nationwide, police made 349 arrests.
The violence was originally concentrated in neighbourhoods with large immigrant populations.
However, the violence has spread out across the country to include Normandy in the west and southern cities on the Mediterranean such as Nice and Cannes.
“All these hoodlums see others setting fires and say they can do it, too,” said national police spokesman Patrick Hamon.
According to the article, an announcement of further security measures are expected in the next day or two from Chirac. True to his character to date, Chirac has been one for neither quick nor decisive reaction to the obvious expansionist Islamic problem. I guess points could be awarded for consistency.
I’m not necessarily trying to be smug about the matter — the growing problem of radicalism in the pockets of Islamic populations in many European countries is no secret. For the future of the continent, someone has to put their foot down, and that foot is not Jacques.
Meanwhile, just to plug a couple of members from my blogroll, I’ll be catching up on the weekend’s developments in France by perusing the coverage of the wonderfully, rationally hard-edged Ace of Spades and the link-heavy Gateway Pundit. I’d recommend y’all keep up with those two on a daily basis.