All French citizens should have equal rights, Chirac says

President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that ending France's urban violence is still his priority, but also acknowledged the "undeniable" problems faced by suburbs where rioting began.

Chirac defended his use of state-of-emergency legislation, saying he had "given the security forces the measures they need." Even though violence has abated in recent days, Chirac said his priority is still "restoring public order and respect of the law."

He also pointed the finger at parents, saying "too many minors" have taken part in the violence, some of them "pushed to the fore by their elders."

But the French leader also acknowledged, without condoning the unrest, the difficulties that tough suburbs face. A.M.

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Author`s name Editorial Team