North African Riots in Paris
Paris outskirts had a seventh night of violence on Wednesday. The riots seem to be typical race riots, mainly involving North and West African Muslims. Some 200 cars have been burned, in a ring around the French capital. The riots were set off when police chased two youths who then ended up dead. [See corrective below; I had written “killed two youths.”]
The mainstream press doesn’t seem to be connecting the dots here, but the continued marginalization, high unemployment and discrimination faced by the large French Muslim community could help push them toward Salafi radicalism. And that has implications for Iraq and for the future of Europe.
A reader in Paris writes:
“A corrective is much needed to your report about riots around Paris. It’s messy enough without adding to the confusion.
The two youths were not killed by the police. Those two kids (15 and 17 years old) and a third one thought they were being pursued by policemen and scaled the fences of a a high power utility transformer to hide there. The first two were fatally electrocuted while the third was seriously burned but managed to get back on his feet and call for help.
It is so far unclear why those kids tried to hide in this transformer.
The police says that they ran away from the scene of a burglary in nearby Livry-Gargan when the police arrived but that they were not being pursued by policemen and that those policemen were not aware of their presence in the transformer until the third one called the fire brigade for help.
Locals say those kids were coming back from a soccer match and tried to avoid a police check point and were being chased.
There’s no reason to give more credence to any of either versions and those events are now under investigation.