France extends state of emergency, deports rioters

The violence began 23 days ago. Still, it is quite risky to step out onto the street after dark in most French cities

French authorities are cracking down on immigrants who continue to destroy public Paris riotsinfrastructure facilities and set cars on fire. More than 200 cars are burned down every night despite all the efforts of the police. Ten rioters will be sent to their countries of origin by order from the Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Each of the ten troublemakers had brushes with the law before. They are the first group of criminals of foreign descent to be deported from France. The bill on the extension of the state of emergency was already passed by the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament on Tuesday.

The violence began 23 days ago. Still, it is quite risky to step out onto the street after dark in most French cities. Last night was not an exception: 215 cars were torched and several shop windows were smashed. However, the police say the number of vandalized cars is decreasing. Despite an overall drop in the number of violent incidents, the authorities still have a lot of work to do before they regain full control over the situation.

Paris riots set entire France on fire - photo gallery

Everybody in France does agree that deportation is the most effective measure to combat violence. Human rights activists leveled severe criticisms at the government for approving the deportation policy. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin made the following comment on Wednesday: “We are taking these steps specifically to restore public order, we can not allow 200 cars to be torched every night.”

However, there are some provisos in the new law. It does not apply to underage persons and those who have close relatives in France. The law does not apply to foreigners who arrived in France before they turned 13. Persons of the above category can not be deported.

Extending the state of emergency is yet another proposal put forth by Nikolas Sarkozy. The state of emergency was imposed in some areas on November 8 as the first wave of rioting has rolled across several cities. Now the government wants to extend it for three more months. The law provides for the imposing of curfews by local authorities. The original law on the state of emergency in France was first approved in 1955. “The government believes that the state of emergency in France should be extended. The situation is still tense. The measure proved to be an effective way of tackling the problem. The French lawmakers will make a wise decision if they sign off on the bill,” said Mr. Sarkozy during his speech in the Senate. 

Few people doubt the approval of the bill. The ruling party holds the majority in the Senate. According to Mr. Sarkozy, restoration of law and order is just a matter of time.

Photo by AP

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Author`s name Olga Savka