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Violence tests Sarkozy gov't security policy

07-24-2010 08:04 BJT

by Ounissi Sonia

PARIS, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Recent unrest and violent riots against police forces hang a question mark on France's security system and triggered calls for a new strategy to fight against violence.

Calm was broken last week in Grenoble outskirts in southeastern France when one young raider on charges of armed robbery was killed in clashes with police.

Twenty men were in custody after about 80 cars were torched and several stores were burned up to revenge the death of the 27-year- old robber.

Chaos erupted also in the Cher-et-Loire region in central France where "traveling people" caused damage to city infrastructures in Saint-Aignan protesting the death of a 22-year- old man, who charged road checkpoint and was shot by police.

New prefect in the region of disturbance and declaration of a tough war against crimes and violence represent two pillar factors of France's strategy to put an end to insecurity in neglected and poor districts where violent riots are common.

"The government is conducting a relentless fight against crimes. It's a real war that we will deliver to traffickers and criminals. The rule of law must be respected throughout the national territory," President Nicolas Sarkozy stressed.

In 2005, weeks of violence swept across France's neglected outskirts, sparked by the death of two youths who were electrocuted when they entered an electricity installation as they ran away from police

"How many tens of times have we heard: zero tolerance now, no more millimeter of the territory abandoned, no more unregulated area and every day, evidence on the ground showed the contrary," Francois Bayrou, head of MoDem party said in remarks to France Inter, a local radio channel.

"This means that security policy is not in the right direction and that therefore must be changed," he added.

The overall crime fell by 0.86 percent in 2008 compared to 2007 but the rate of armed robberies rose by more than 15 percent and the violence between gangs soared sharply by more than 117 percent over the period, according to official figures.

"The society is more violent today. It is the authority's failure," Manuel Valls, a socialist deputy, was quoted by Europe 1.

"We came back to the police of the 1960s, a police cut off people, hierarchical and centralized. We need a new approach," Valls added.

Mucchieli, a sociologist, said the government needs to give more interest on the neglected social areas and offer wider opportunities for people living in the poor and marginalized outskirts to play a role in the social life.

"This type of event is not new..and always prompted hopeless and superficial political comments. The fundamental (reason of violence) is simple, we like it or not, French society excludes a scale of its citizens from the social life," Mucchieli noted.

"The police will never stop alone the delinquency and by investing in stones rather in humans. Renovating buildings and leaving humans within the same social status and psychological distress is an aberration," he added.

But, to Brice Hortefeux, the Interior Minister, the picture is not so grim. He is still upbeat on the authorities' ability to restore order and guarantee security.

"Security is for all. There is neither neglected territory nor forgotten people. There's no future for hoodlums and delinquents because in the end the public authority always wins," he said.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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