Australia's government warns its citizens against travelling to France

The Australian government warned its citizens planning to travel to France to take extra care following days of civil unrest in Paris that has spread to other cities.

"Violent riots, involving arson attacks on buildings and cars, and the use of missiles such as petrol bombs, are occurring in many areas of France, including in Paris and other major cities," the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warned in a travel advisory posted on its Web site.

"Australians should monitor the media and other local information sources for information on where the riots are occurring and, if they need to visit or travel through affected areas, exercise a high degree of caution and avoid any demonstrations," the warning said.

Nightly rioting in France started Oct. 27. Over the weekend, youths clashed with police and torched businesses, schools, post offices, police stations and several thousand cars.

In the meanwhile President Jacques Chirac promised to arrest and punish those who "sow violence or fear."

"The law must have the last word," Chirac said Sunday after a security meeting with top ministers, making his first public address on the riots. France is determined "to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear, and they will be arrested, judged and punished."

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin promised speeded up trials for rioters and extra security during France's worst civil unrest in at least a decade.

Nearly 1,000 people have been arrested since the violence broke out, the AP reports.


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