Topic: Breaking News
News, Not Commentary: Just In From Paris
PARIS - Tuesday, 8 November -
After a 12th night of urban turmoil the Council of Ministers met today and decided to instruct préfets to apply curfews if they think they are necessary.
On Monday President Jacques Chirac judged that such a move was necessary in order to 'speed up the return to calm.' The Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, announced the decision to declare a state of emergency last night on TF1 TV-news, saying that the violence was 'inexcusable and unacceptable.'
Residents of France showed their concern with an audience score of an estimated 13 million viewers for the newscast.
The curfew law dates from 1955 and has only been used twice in the past 50 years. How it is to function was explained by the minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy. In zones defined by a second decree, pr?fets will have authority to impose measures necessary to maintain order.
Where defined, curfews could go into effect at midnight tonight, and can continue for 11 days, until the law must be re-voted.
Police will also be able to make searches for arms without specific warrants during the 11-day period. Violation of the curfew could result in a two-month term in jail.
Monday night's violence lessened slightly from the levels reached on the weekend. A youth in Toulouse had a hand blown off by a tear-gas grenade fired by police. In all, 226 communes all over France were touched by violence last night, while 10,200 police officers effected the arrests of 330 suspected rioters.
In Paris, other than the relatively minor incidents of a few days ago, the nights are as quiet as they usually are. The nightly scenes of arson and mayhem shown on TV-news are not being witnessed first-hand by the city's residents and visitors.
Today on rue des Rennes
The front page of Le Monde -
Text and Photos Copyright © 2005 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis
BBC summary of the curfew law, in English:
- Cabinet can declare state of emergency in all or part of the country
- Regional leaders given exceptional powers to apply curfew and restrict movements
- Breach of curfew could mean a fine or two-month jail sentence
- Police can carry out raids on suspected weapons stockpiles
- Interior minister can issue house-arrest warrants for persons considered dangerous to public safety
- Public meeting places can be closed down
- House searches possible day or night
- Authorities can control press or broadcast media, film and theatre performances
- State of emergency can only be extended beyond 12 days if approved by parliament
TF1 streaming video - if you have a high-speed connection, watch the early afternoon or the evening news show from TF1 in Paris each day here, in French, no subtitles. The link to the broadcast is on the upper right of the page.
See John Lichfield in The Independent (UK), 07 November 2005 No intifada, no cause, just poor kids defending their territory - he's their Paris reporter.
Or see Melanie Phillips here -
See also this -
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds? And "a steady and ominous thickening on street corners and among shadows of determined looking folk from the banlieues?"
Well, your editor finally got to New Orleans three years ago for a good visit, and has had his many trips to Paris. Is each gone now?