The French government has acted quickly to try to prevent street violence spreading after a young woman was badly burned in an arson attack on a bus in Marseille. The cabinet held an emergency meeting to discuss the weekend incident and a spate of disturbances in recent weeks.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkhozy said those behind the Marseille attack could not justify it by claiming to be victims of racism.
The injured woman, who is of Senegalese origin, suffered 60 percent burns and is in a critical condition. Violence in the suburbs has been increasing in the run-up to the first anniversary of riots that erupted across France last year.
Coming just months before a presidential election in which Sarkozy may be a candidate the government is anxious not to see a repeat of the unrest.