French rioters injure 30 cops, 1,408 vehicles burnt
* Govt allows curfews if necessary
* Islamic organisation issues decree against riots
* 395 rioters arrested
GRIGNY: More than 30 police officials were injured and 1,408 vehicles burnt in France’s poor suburbs overnight as unrest spread and intensified for an 11th night despite a vow by President Jacques Chirac to defeat it.
In Grigny, south of Paris, youths lured police into a housing estate and attacked them with pellet guns. Police said that it had detained 395 rioters.
The police union urged the government to impose a curfew on the riot-hit areas and call in the army to control the youths, many of whom are French-born citizens of Arab or African origin complaining of racial discrimination. Reacting to official suggestions that Islamist militants might be orchestrating some of the protests, one of France’s largest Muslim organisations issued a decree against the unrest.
The mayor of a tough Paris suburb near the epicentre of the urban violence declared an “exceptional curfew” on his municipality starting on Monday night.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced plans on Monday to give local government officials the authority to impose curfews in areas hit by rioting.
Villepin ruled out army intervention in an interview with France’s TF1 television but said the cabinet would meet on Tuesday to clear the way for government officials known as prefects to impose curfews “wherever it is necessary”.
And some 200 people held a silent tribute on Monday to the first victim linked to the urban violence ripping through France, a 61-year-old man who died in hospital after being assaulted last week. agencies