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11.09.2005
  De Villepin Fiddles As France Burns

France Continues to Burn Despite Security.

France declared a state of emergency Tuesday to quell the country’s worst unrest since the student uprisings of 1968 that toppled a government, and the prime minister said the nation faced a “moment of truth” over its failure to integrate Arab and African immigrants and their children.

Rioters ignored the extraordinary security measures, which began Wednesday, as they looted and burned two superstores, set fire to a newspaper office and paralyzed France’s second largest city’s subway system with a gasoline bomb.

The measures, valid for 12 days, clear the way for curfews after nearly two weeks of rioting in neglected and impoverished neighborhoods with largely Muslim communities.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [...who is a man...—ed.], tacitly acknowledging that France has failed to live up to its egalitarian ideals, reached out to the heavily immigrant suburbs where the rioting began. He said France must make a priority of working against the discrimination that feeds the frustration of youths made to feel that they do not belong in France.

“We must be lucid: The Republic is at a moment of truth,” Villepin told parliament. “The effectiveness of our integration model is in question.” He called the riots “a warning” and “an appeal.”

 
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