/ siege / state /
The following statement is from various trade unions, left political parties and civil liberties groups in France.
Joint Communiqué, Paris, November 8th, 2005. Confronted by a revolt born from the accumulation of inequalities and discrimination in the “banlieues” (suburbs of Paris) and the poor areas, the French government has just passed a new and extremely serious threshold in the escalation of security measures. Even in May 1968, when the situation was a lot more dramatic, the public authorities did not use the extreme measure of declaring a state of emergency. The proclamation of the state of emergency is the answer to a revolt whose causes are profound and well known even at the level of state repression...
Regarding the rather gross hyperbole in a great part of the media coverage, today's NYT has an article that's a bit more rational and closer to reality by Olivier Roy. Excerpt:
France has a huge Muslim population living outside these neighborhoods - many of them, people who left them as soon as they could afford it - and they don't identify with the rioters at all. Even within the violent areas, one's local identity (sense of belonging to a particular neighborhood) prevails over larger ethnic and religious affiliation. Most of the rioters are from the second generation of immigrants, they have French citizenship, and they see themselves more as part of a modern Western urban subculture than of any Arab or African heritage.
Colman at the European Tribune is more sarcastic: Paris now nothing but cinders and ashes.