A band of up to 30 youths armed with makeshift weapons and some wearing masks attacked two riot police patrolling a housing project outside Paris in an apparent ambush that seriously injured one of the officers, police officials said Wednesday.
The serious injuries include a double fracture of the skull.
No arrests have been made.
The attack on the French policemen took place in one of the areas where the “youths” were rioting for months last year.
That particular banlieu (France’s elegant term for public housing projects) had been considered out of bounds for police for several years prior to that. It’s only recently that the police have started to patrol the area again, and that’s only because French Interior Minister Sarkozy’s trying to take a hard line, much to Chirac’s dismay.
Mind you, the police are patrolling. The police do not carry firearms. They carry billy-clubs. If the French were actually getting tough, they would have the gendarmerie, who can carry firearms, do the patrolling.
As it is, the big outrage in the evening news (which you can watch at France2), is not over how thugs have taken over entire sectors of the country, but over Sarkozy’s statements the other day. Sarko had the gall to point out
“Since the start of the start of the year, the number of people imprisoned in the department (of Seine-Saint-Denis) has fallen 15.5%, even as delinquents grow more and more violent.”
The irate head of the country’s highest court of appeal said that the crimes are committed by minors and “we don’t solve anything by sending children to prison”, and now is asking that Chirac serve them Sarko’s head on a platter because Sarko’s statements are too “provocative“. Equally “provocative” would be having armed police show up at the banlieus.
Eternity Road posts on the security paradox, something the French can’t appreciate.
In other French news, Nidra Poller has been watching the Al Dura trial
three Frenchmen go on trial in Paris for questioning the veracity of the 2000 videotape of the putative murder of Palestinian child Mohammed Al-Dura by Israeli soldiers. This tape – promulgated by the French state-run channel France 2 – is often credited with helping instigate the so-called “Al-Aqsa Intifada”. Now, six years later, in the shadow of revelations about media manipulation and “fauxtography” by Reuters and others, these trials take on extraordinary unexpected resonance.
no honest observer could fail to recognize that France 2 did not verify, has no proof, should have opened the question to public debate and made the outtakes freely available years ago. If there is any acrimony, it is on the side of France 2.
France2 has not reported at all on the trial in its evening broadcasts, and Charles Enderlin continues to be their star correspondent in Israel.
I hope I have a chance to meet Ms Poller in DC next Tuesday.
As for the youths, expect more of the same.