Monday, March 21, 2005

Dangerous Ethnic Tensions in France

Via, a piece from Expatica:

Thousands of French high-school students who demonstrated against the government in central Paris Tuesday were protected by an extensive security detail after violence and muggings that marred a similar march a week ago. Le Monde newspaper carried disturbing interviews with attackers and victims in last week's trouble - both sides agreeing that the violence was exclusively carried out on white boys and girls by black and Arab teenagers. "If I went, it was not to demonstrate but to take telephones and beat people up. There were groups of people running about stirring things up, and in the middle these idiots - these little French people just asking for it," an 18-year-old of Tunisian origin called Heikel said.

"We came to demonstrate against inequalities and we got beaten up. It's as if they thought that we - the "white Parisians " - had plenty of money, that we could buy a new mobile phone tomorrow," said Tristan Goldbronn, 16, who was badly hurt. Police estimated that between 700 and 1,000 youngsters came into the city centre to spoil the March 8 demonstration, most of them from the Seine-Saint-Denis department in the northern suburbs. Heikel, who attends a secondary school in the area, told Le Monde that the mainly white Parisian students who took part in the march - known in street parlance as "bolos" - were seen as spoilt and privileged, and therefore fair game. "A bolo - he's a sitting duck, a victim," he said.


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