Paris Burning By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger
Published on Thu, Nov 29 2007 by Iquo Essien
Youth riots have taken over the streets of Villiers-le-Bel, a suburb of Paris, following the deaths of two minority youths whose motorbike was struck by a police car. Spectators claim the police took off after dragging the youth several feet. The police claim the victims were driving a stolen bike and that the patrol car detained them before the freak accident occurred.
Whatever the case may be, the incident has sparked violence between the largely-white police force and minority youth, similar to the race riots of 2005 when two kids were electrocuted in a power plant while fleeing from police.
In this week's incident, the victims' families were immigrants from Morocco and Senegal, to which their bodies will be returned for burial. Both sets of victims, in 2005 and the present, were sons Arab and AFRican immigrants living in subsidized, substandard housing projects plagued by unemployment and crime.
In 2005, thousands of cars were torched in street riots, while today, youth have taken to arms in retaliation. They have been throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, and firing long-barreled guns -- injuring more than one hundred police officers. The head of the police union is calling these homegrown youth "urban guerrillas," with organized, mobilegroups running rings around the cops.
The BBC has done some pretty good stories on it so far, I can't embed them here, but take a look at this one. Cars have been set on fire, policemen are being targeted, and the streets are a mess.
Youth are rising up in Paris -- and I'm actually quite scared about everyone's safety. A 1000-strong riot police force has been deployed to quell violence. And the government has plans to reveal a program in January offering 250,000 youngsters in the 750 most deprived areas paid training and work experience as a means of decreasing violence and crime. We'll see if they keep their promise.