Massive police reinforcement led by Prime Minister Francois Fillon in person tried to halt the spread of violence in the nation’s capital. Cars and shops continued being set ablaze, but there was nothing like the bloody shootings on Monday which left 82 police officers wounded, including four on the critical list. Despite a momentary lull, many are awaiting further attacks from infuriated Muslim youths, most in their teens, who fought the police and even burned down a library. Two years after the riots of 2005, France again confronts angry, alienated youth. Even politicians from Sarkozy’s own party are citing a decision made by him when Minister of the Interior which played a role in the rioting. At that time, Sarkozy abolished local police units in the suburbs and replaced them with flying squads composed mostly of riot police. The appearance of any police now triggers emotions that outside forces are entering the area to deal with violence.
Hughes Portelli, the mayor of Elmont, said, “We ned to have the local police back…in my town we know very well that there is no point in calling in some CRS(riot police) units. They only provoke a fight.” In America, the emphasis on local police establishing relations with people in a community has proven an important factor in preventing riots and violence. The French might learn from the American experience.