Violence unacceptable: French President Sarkozy

Violence unacceptable: French President Sarkozy

EAUBONNE – French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged yesterday to punish rioters who shot at police, taking a firm line the day after a police clampdown saw a sharp drop in violence following two nights of clashes.

Youths in Paris suburbs and the southwestern city of Toulouse torched a library, several cars and rubbish bins in the third night of violence. But officials reported no major clashes between youths and police, who were out in force after two nights of running battles with youths in northern Paris suburbs.Moments after arriving back in France from China, Sarkozy sped off to a hospital in the Eaubonne suburb of Paris where a senior police officer, attacked at the start of the violence on Sunday, was being treated for serious injuries.Sarkozy, a law-and-order hardliner when interior minister during riots two years ago, praised the officer’s courage but also reached out to the families of two youths whose deaths in a crash with a police car on Sunday triggered the unrest.”Those who take it upon themselves to shoot at police will find themselves in the Assizes Court” which handles serious cases, he told reporters later.Shooting at police ‘has a name – attempted murder’.”We will find the shooters.We will put in the necessary resources …It is not something that we can tolerate, no matter how dramatic the deaths of these two youngsters on a motorbike may be,” he added.The violence has revived memories of the riots in 2005, the worst unrest in France in 40 years, when thousands of cars were torched after two teenagers were electrocuted in a power sub-station after apparently fleeing police.The new wave of violence erupted on Sunday when two teenagers were killed in a collision with a police car.But an official in the riot-affected areas said the level of violence overnight had halved from Monday, when about 80 police officers were injured in clashes with youths.”I think it clearly had a deterrent effect,” the official, who declined to be named, said of the beefed up security presence.She declined to confirm media reports that 1 000 officers had been mobilised.Officials have said the latest violence was nowhere near the scale of 2005 and was limited to a few areas, though the use of firearms so early in the disturbances has alarmed police – Nampa-ReutersBut officials reported no major clashes between youths and police, who were out in force after two nights of running battles with youths in northern Paris suburbs.Moments after arriving back in France from China, Sarkozy sped off to a hospital in the Eaubonne suburb of Paris where a senior police officer, attacked at the start of the violence on Sunday, was being treated for serious injuries.Sarkozy, a law-and-order hardliner when interior minister during riots two years ago, praised the officer’s courage but also reached out to the families of two youths whose deaths in a crash with a police car on Sunday triggered the unrest.”Those who take it upon themselves to shoot at police will find themselves in the Assizes Court” which handles serious cases, he told reporters later.Shooting at police ‘has a name – attempted murder’.”We will find the shooters.We will put in the necessary resources …It is not something that we can tolerate, no matter how dramatic the deaths of these two youngsters on a motorbike may be,” he added.The violence has revived memories of the riots in 2005, the worst unrest in France in 40 years, when thousands of cars were torched after two teenagers were electrocuted in a power sub-station after apparently fleeing police.The new wave of violence erupted on Sunday when two teenagers were killed in a collision with a police car.But an official in the riot-affected areas said the level of violence overnight had halved from Monday, when about 80 police officers were injured in clashes with youths.”I think it clearly had a deterrent effect,” the official, who declined to be named, said of the beefed up security presence.She declined to confirm media reports that 1 000 officers had been mobilised.Officials have said the latest violence was nowhere near the scale of 2005 and was limited to a few areas, though the use of firearms so early in the disturbances has alarmed police – Nampa-Reuters

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