Monday, November 07, 2005

France rioters: 'Each night we make this place Baghdad'

France rioters: 'Each night we make this place Baghdad':

"What began as pitched battles has transformed into a nightly game of cat-and-mouse with the police.

Two or three people set out armed with mobile phones, crowbars and incendiary material. A quick hit with the crowbar on the windscreen of a police van, a Molotov cocktail inside - and they're off back into the sprawling housing estates.

The rioters have also started using motorbikes and mobile phones to trace the movements of police riot squads, in tactics reminiscent of urban guerrilla movements.

'Each night we turn this place into Baghdad', says one masked youth in Sevran near Paris. As a political statement, there have been better - but these riots seem to be more aimed at the television cameras than the National Assembly.

'It would be better to go into Paris than break up everything here,' his friend says, appearing to consider that the victims of the rioting are predominantly their own neighbours and friends.

'Why did they set my car on fire, why mine?' asks one young man as he watches it go up in flames. He knows the perpetrators, he says. They're neighbours of his, but he refuses to name them.


On Wednesday night, a disabled woman in Sevran barely escaped death in a burning bus.

Youths barricaded the road with burning tyres and threw fuel into the bus. All the other passengers fled, but the 56-year-old, unable to move, was sprayed with petrol and then a burning rag was thrown inside.

The woman survived the attack with second and third-degree burns on one-fifth of her body, after the bus driver managed to pull her to safety."

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