Expatica readers favour law-and-order approach

14th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

NANTES, Nov 15 (Expatica) -- Expatica France readers have shown clear support for a law-and-order response to the two-week outbreak of violence in France's suburban areas although a majority of readers said arrests must be coupled with more systemic change to contain further violence.

NANTES, Nov 15 (Expatica) -- Expatica France readers have shown clear support for a law-and-order response to the two-week outbreak of violence in France's suburban areas although a majority of readers said arrests must be coupled with more systemic change to contain further violence.

140 readers participated in last week's poll that asked if arrests are the key to restoring public order.

59 percent of readers responded that arrests will stop the violence but that this must be followed by broader policy change to halt further outbreaks; 34 percent said rounding up the ringleaders is sufficient to stop the rioting; only 8 percent thought that a police crackdown would fan the flames of anti-government outrage in France's suburbs, where millions of immigrants and low-income citizens live.

Several readers agreed that the violence is a result of long-standing -- and unsuccessful -- French integration policies but without condoning the response: 18 days of burnt cars, buses, schools, gymnasiums and other public buildings and, on several occassions, attacks against both police and private citizens; one beating by unidentified youths lead to the death of a 61-year-old man last week.

"The real problem in France are the Parisien elites who prefer to see France go into decline rather than devolve power to a wider base. A classic example is the ENA, which controls the country whichever way the French people vote," said one reader, referring to the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, one of France's prestigious grandes écoles and a kind of national recruitment agency for France's political and civil service leaders.

Several reader comments demonstrated a marked lack of sympathy for the rioters, who primarily are young people living in the banlieus, or residential areas on the outskirts of large cities that are plagued with chronic unemployment, poor educational and public transit facilities, and often sub-standard living conditions.

"Frankly speaking, [it's] kind of difficult to solve this problem that moslems [sic] usually identify themselves with their religion rather than as citizens of France or Holland or Belgium. They are promoting a separate society within society, never integrated," said one reader.

Another reader suggested the press is being too easy on the prepetrators of the violence: "Stop making excuses for these monsters! 'Rabble' is far too nice a word to describe people of this kind, petrol-bombing old ladies, burning down schools and churches and shooting at the police, to mention only a fraction of it. They require some serious treatment, and to be called by their real name: terrorists."

"Give them what they want and it will never, never end," summed up another.

Readers, although themselves foreigners subject to French immigration policies, did not seem to feel any kinship with the rioting youth.

"Even the British in France find it hard to get a job. The French look after themselves first, as it should be. This is only the start. It will happen in most European countries by the year 2010 and then look out," said one reader ominously.

While Expatica poll results are unscientific, readers are prevented from voting twice on the same question.

November 2005

Copyright Expatica

Subject: French news

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