La France en état d'urgence

Extension of the state of emergency

Nicolas SarkozyMonday 14, 2005 was an eventful day. This morning the French Council of Ministers has decided to extend the state of emergency for another three months. According to Jacques Chirac, this measure is to be seen strictly temporary and to be executed only where necessary - and if so, only when it is in accord with the elected representatives. Le Pen(is) While the French party "Union For A Popular Movement" (UMP) - no wonder: Sarkozy is its president - welcomes this decision, the French Socialist party (PS) underlined that the state of emergency is not the magic bullet to solve the banlieue's problems. The French communists (PCF) say that the main response is to solve the social issues. Thank god there is also an easy answer how to reach this. Le Pen (or as per many graffities in France Le Pen - la pute (Le Pen - The Whore) or Le Pen(is) (no explanation needed), Führer of the French Nationalist Party) teaches us that it is uncontrolled and massive immigration coming from the third world which causes today's riots. Indeed many French fear that the "right of center" parties might gain massive influence after the riots.

Jacque Chirac's speech to the nation

Jacques ChiracFor the first time since the breakout of the riots, French president Jacques Chirac spoke directly to the nation this evening. In his speech he announced accelerated lawsuites for the arrested, resolute engagement against illegal immegration and illegal employment, which he called a modern kind of slavery. He also said that those families neglecting their duties towards education of their children should be punished. In addition to that, Chirac mentioned the diversity of the French society which it "is a great chance to belong to for all adolescents". But he also confessed that the French government has neglected their homework towards the French immigrants.
A very interesting point of his speech was when he announced a meeting with French media representatives in order to making the media better reflect the real state of the French society considering its ethnical composition.
Last but not least, the president also announced a civil service for 50,000 adolescents by 2007.
In reaction to the riots, José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, offered a shifting of already existing EU funds for the French government to solve the problems in its banlieues.

What can be felt from the curfews and emergency measures in Grenoble?
(curfew = Ausgangssperre, couvre-feu)

burnt bussesThere are no busses or tramways after 8pm. For security reasons. So yesterday I went for a walk in the Grenoble banlieues. Grenoble as to now is not affected by the curfews. Anyway, at 9pm I was almost the only one in the streets. I did not go to the real problem quarters however. The only thing I saw were some kids (about 12 years old) throwing a buggy for babies on the street.
Grenoble was in the news today as two police men got injured when a gas cartidge exploded in a burning trash bin. This probably was just an exploding deodorant tin but when innocents get injured or even killed, this is not collateral damage.
The émeutes made a lot of people think and caught a lot of media attention. Was - and is - it worth the pain? And why did they destroy their own schools, kindergartens and shopping centers? These are questions to which I do not have answers yet.

No crisis without profiteers

Car insurance companies make big deals these days. When searching for "émeutes" on Google France you receive a lot of car insurance ads from some really "clever" companies which have bought the particular keywords on Google's advertising program. I also heard the story of someone burning his own car in order to commit a little insurance fraud…

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