Sunday, November 06, 2005

Translation of article linked in “Tower of Babble in Ripoublika Franska”

From ¡No Pasaràn!: Tower of Babble in Ripoublika Franska we linked the following by TF1:

"Le dernier mot doit revenir à la loi"

Following a closed Sunday evening meeting of his security cabinet concerning the riots, Jacques Chirac announced that "the priority, it is the re-establishment of safety and of the law and order". Domenique de Villepin, who continued ongoing meetings with the police and education departments this afternoon is expected to announce "specific proposals" on Monday at 20h on TF1.

This is the first public statement by the head of the State in the rioting which has been growing nightly.

"We took a certain number of decisions likely to reinforce the position of justice and police force, because the absolute priority, it is the re-establishment of safety and of the law and order", said the head of the State outside the Elysée Palace. "The law must have the last word. The Republic is inherently stronger than those which want to sow violence and the fear. They will be apprehended and judged by the law. We will proceed with mutual respect, justice, and the equal opportunity. I am completely determined to take this course and we will continue to maintain this policy." Concluding his short statement, the head of the State repeated: "the priority, it is the re-establishment of safety and the law and order".

The Internal Security Council was created in 2002 by Jacques Chirac. They usually meet once a month to give a briefing on the state of affairs, but are convened between these scheduled meetings as well based on the gravity of a given situation. A meeting of that type had been convened following the murderous terrorist attacks from July 7 in London. Normally not made public, they are held behind door-closed and are not followed by press statements. Gathered at today’s meeting with the head of the State were the Prime Minister Domenique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as Minister of Defense Michele Alliot-Marie, Justice Minister Pascal Clément, the Social Affairs Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, Finance Minister Thierry Breton, and the Budget Minister Jean-François Copé, as well as the Minister of Education Gilles de Robien.

In the past few hours, criticism was heard, including that the opposition, for the head of the State to intervene in the crisis of urban violence. "I would like to hear today the words of Jacques Chirac (...) Not just of the compassion and a constrained silence: he should take responsability", launched the first secretary of the socialist Party, François Holland on Sunday morning. The previous day a member of the majority, UMP deputy Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who called Jacques Chirac "strangely dumbstruck".

Villepin confers

For his part, Domenique de Villepin, who intends to introduce an action plan for the suburbs by the end of November, continues with meetings and consultations. While local council members demand that the state take more responsibility, his staff announced Sunday that the Prime Minister will announce "specific proposals" during the week to try to respond to the crisis. It will be presented on television on Monday at 20h "to describe the situation".

[Discussion of Matignon conference has been covered elsewhere and is omitted]

The spreading riots as well as the attitude of the Minister of Interior Department [Sarkozy],reappeared Sunday in the verbal sparring matches between François Holland (the first secretary of the Socialist Party) and Sarkozy’s chief of staff, Brice Hortefeux. Holland called Sarkozy’s remarks "intolerable": "to measure the gravity of the situation, the main victims are the people who live in these districts. An Interior Minister cannot speak like just anyone". With what Brice Hortefeux retorted that "Nicolas Sarkozy has the support of public opinion, the backing of Parliament and the confidence of the Prime Minister"

Copé: "the message of strength is starting to be heard"

Government spokesman Jean-François Copé took part Sunday evening in the Security Council Cabinet meeting in the Elysée, and made his announcement to LCI on his way out while the press waited for Jacques Chirac’s statement. "the absolute priority, it is obviously the re-establishment of the public authority", he stated strongly, stressing that "throughout this crisis, we changed policy greatly, in particular by making large scale arrests". He stated further that, the fact that "the whole of the system of law enforcement is deployed" is a strong signal to troublemakers. He also referred to the "mobilization of force" and the "presence on the ground" to oppose violence. "the arrests were numerous and effective because they led to court convictions", recalling that in addition to the police force, "the population mobilized itself though appeals for calm". According to him, "the message of firmness is beginning to be heard."
End of item.

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