Sharp rise in racist, anti-Semitic acts in France

19th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 18 (AFP) - More than 1,500 racist and anti-Semitic acts were committed in France in 2004, an increase of more than 80 percent as compared with the previous year, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

PARIS, Jan 18 (AFP) - More than 1,500 racist and anti-Semitic acts were committed in France in 2004, an increase of more than 80 percent as compared with the previous year, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

The 81.6 percent jump from 833 such acts in 2003 to 1,513 last year came despite repeated pledges from the centre-right government of French President Jacques Chirac to crack down on perpetrators of racist and anti-Semitic acts.

According to the figures, which were revealed Monday by Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin to an interministerial committee on the fight against racism and anti-Semitism, 950 of the 1,513 acts were anti-Semitic in nature.

More than four in 10 of the total incidents were committed in the Paris region, and about 20 percent of them were violent, the interior ministry said.

About 200 of the anti-Semitic incidents were violent attacks, it added. A total of 307 people were arrested, including 182 for anti-Semitic offences, the ministry noted.

De Villepin told reporters last week that the number of anti-Semitic acts was "far higher than average" and promised to reinforce security details around likely targets like synagogues and Jewish schools.

The minister said the figures would be clarified with a subsequent report on the prosecution of cases flagged as racist or anti-Semitic.

France is home to Europe's largest Jewish community, estimated at some 600,000 strong.

Many of the anti-Semitic acts have been blamed on disaffected youths from France's estimated five million Muslims, although some have also been attributed to far-right extremists.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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