Monday, September 24, 2007

Two Years After Riots, Little Has Changed


Two Years After Riots, Little Has Changed

By Michael Deibert

Inter Press Service

CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, Sep 24 (IPS) - The community in this Paris suburb is waiting keenly for transformation promised by France's new government.

Clichy-sous-Bois gained an unwelcome iconic significance two years ago following the deaths of Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna, two youths from immigrant families who were electrocuted while trying to hide from the police.

The deaths, a particularly grim chapter in a long history of simmering tension between local youths and the police, set off rioting and civil unrest around France. Almost 9,000 cars were burnt, and dozens of buildings were set on fire. Close to 130 police and firefighter staff were injured, and nearly 2,900 people were arrested.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, then minister of interior, promised to rid the banlieues, as the impoverished suburbs that ring many French cities are known, of racaille (rabble), and clean them out with a kärcher (a high-pressure hose). Residents now ask if he will be equally vehement about addressing the chronic unemployment and prejudice that they say were at the root of the upheaval.

Read the full article here.

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