Monday morning's report in Le Monde noted a decline in the number of acts of violence on the 18th night of troubles in France, which are now affecting mostly provincial cities. -- The French council of ministers, which usually meets on Wednesday, will meet Monday to consider a bill that would extend the state of emergency for a period of three months. -- "The state of emergency grants prefects powers to establish curfews that have already been applied in some forty cities, to conduct searches with prior authorization, and to forbid demonstrations and public assemblies," Le Monde reported....
[Translated from Le Monde (Paris)]
Banlieues en crise
NEW DECLINE IN URBAN VIOLENCE, BILL TO PROLONG STATE OF EMERGENCY
(With AFP and Reuters.)
Le Monde (Paris)
November 14, 2005
Sporadic incidents broke out Sunday, Nov. 13, in the evening, for the 18th consecutive night in French banlieues, principally in the provinces, but authorities are hoping for a gradual return to normality.
The night from Sunday to Monday seemed to confirm a steady ebbing of violence. The number of burned cars, which has become the barometer of the rioters' activity, stood at 271 at 4:00 a.m. Monday, compared to 315 the night before at the same time, according to the provisional report of the national police headquarters. One hundred twelve persons had been arrested, compared to 161 the night before. On Sunday, the police expressed optimism based on a decline in the number of violent acts, with 374 cars burned on the night from Saturday to Sunday, compared to 502 the night before.
Although falling overall, the troubles continued to affect dozens of towns four days after the establishment of the state of emergency and the application of curfews. Five police were wounded -- including two by the explosion of a gas refill in a burning refuse bin, who have been put under observation in a Grenoble hospital --, compared to two the night before.
NO CLASHES IN LYONS
In Lyons, Sunday afternoon was calm. All assemblies likely to disturb public order had been forbidden Sunday, a measure taken after the previous day's clashes between police and youths that took place, for the first time, in the center of a major city, near the Place Bellecour. About sixty vehicles were burned during the night from Saturday to Sunday and a Molotov cocktail was thrown, without exploding, at the city's chief mosque.
On Sunday evening, about fifteen cars were burned in the Lyons metropolitan area, according the Rhône prefecture. Three persons transporting fuel were arrested in Lyons in the course of the evening. As a sign of a relative return to normality, transit officials in the Lyons area decided to keep buses running till 9:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday evening, whereas they had been stopped at 7:00 p.m. since Wednesday.
Other incidents were recorded, notably in Toulouse and Strasbourg. Sunday evening was also marked by a decline in vehicles burned in the East, in Alsace, and in Lorraine.
On the other hand, with the exception of the burning of a gas station that was quickly brought under control, no incident was reported inside Paris, where all assemblies had been forbidden until Sunday morning. The police, on a war footing, mobilized some 3,000 men.
In all, security forces had processed 2,652 arrests since the beginning of the troubles, and 375 persons had already been convicted to prison sentences without remission.
STATE OF EMERGENCY COULD BE EXTENDED THREE MONTHS
The bill concerning the state of emergency, which is to be considered on Monday in a meeting of the council of ministers, foresees prolonging this measure "for a period of three months," beginning on Nov. 21, government spokesperson Jean-François Copé announced this morning. He also specified on Europe 1 that "in order to limit these exceptional measures to what is strictly necessary, the bill offers the possibility of ending it by decree before the expiration" of the three months.
According to the law of Apr. 3, 1955, the government can declare the state of emergency by decree for a maximum duration of 12 days. "The extension of the state of emergency beyond twelve days can only be authorized by law," voted by Parliament. According to Jean-François Copé, "it is important for prefects to have the means to act during a limited period but one sufficiently long to ensure that the grave breaches of the peace do not recur." The council of ministers has moved up two days in order to permit the rapid adoption of the bill extending the state of emergency.
The state of emergency grants prefects powers to establish curfews that have already been applied in some forty cities, to conduct searches with prior authorization, and to forbid demonstrations and public assemblies.
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Home page: http://www.plu.edu/~jensenmk/