Tuesday, January 03, 2006

France -- still falling apart

A further indication -- if one was necessary -- of just how oblivious French society is to its own ills comes in this little-noticed report on the events of new year's eve, 2006:
French police said on Sunday they were relieved that expected violence failed to materialise on New Year's Eve, just weeks after the worst rioting in France in nearly 40 years.
The government deployed 25,000 police to keep the peace, slightly more than last year, in case festivities led to the kind of violence and vandalism which captured headlines around the world in October and November....
"In the context of the period we had between Oct 27 and Nov 21, we could have feared that urban violence would start up again," National police chief Michel Gaudin said at a press conference on Sunday. "It was nothing."
And what was this 'nothing'?
Police said 425 cars were burnt, of which 177 were in the Paris region, and 362 revellers were detained.
The surprising bit is that this isn't even being treated as a repeat of the riots of a couple of months ago -- because these stats
marked a slight rise from the 333 burnt cars and 272 arrests last year.
In other words, in France of 2005/6, 425 cars torched in one night doesn't constitute news (can you imagine the reaction if this happened on new year's eve in the UK, Canada, the US or Australia???). I guess this explains a little about why it took the French almost a week to get worked up over the October riots.

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