Hundreds march in French suburb one year after riots

Hundreds march in French suburb one year after riots

No hint of the identity of these “youths” beyond their immigrant status. No hint of the fact that they are shouting, as they shouted last year, “Allahu akbar.” French Intifada Update from AFP:

Hundreds of people marched in a silent tribute to two teenagers whose death exactly one year ago sent a wave of urban riots surging through France, sparking the country’s most serious social crisis in 30 years.French authorities were on alert for a new flare-up of violence after youth gangs, some carrying handguns, torched — and in one case hijacked — three buses near Paris on Wednesday, but police reported no major trouble overnight.

In Clichy-sous-Bois, the poor northeast Paris suburb where the riots erupted on October 27, 2005, around 1,000 people, most of them youngsters, filed quietly Friday morning past the spot where the two boys died.

“Once again, France and the world are watching us,” the mayor of Clichy Claude Dilain told the crowd. “We need the calm, dignity and courage that are visible here to prevail. Let us show them who we really are.”

“Let’s not give anyone cause to point the finger at us,” added local association leader Samir Mihi.

Many of the marchers wore white T-shirts printed with the words “Zyed and Bouna, Dead for nothing.”

Zyed Benna, 17, and Bouna Traore, 15, both from immigrant families of African descent, were electrocuted as they hid from a police patrol in a power sub-station.

Riots broke out in Clichy that night, quickly spreading to dozens of immigrant-populated suburbs in the Paris region and beyond.

Night after night for three weeks, youth gangs clashed with police, torching more than 10,000 cars and firebombing 300 buildings in around 275 towns, until order was officially restored on November 17.

With the approach of the anniversary, police and local mayors have warned that the conditions that led to the riots remain firmly in place in the poor out-of-town neighbourhoods, plagued by unemployment of 30 to 40 percent.

Nationwide, police were under orders to be vigilant but to keep their presence low-key, to avoid encouraging confrontations with youths, officers told AFP….

Last year’s riots — which led the government to declare a state of emergency, a measure not enacted since the Algerian war half a century earlier — cast an unforgiving spotlight on France’s trouble in integrating its Arab-origin and black communities.

Badly shaken by the crisis, the government promised measures such as an extra 100 million euros (125 million dollars) for local associations, bigger training schemes and a crackdown on racial discrimination for jobs.

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