Lyon rocked by rioting

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Lyon rocked by rioting

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It is one of France’s wealthiest cities, more commonly associated with fine-dining than social unrest.

Yet Lyon has become the flashpoint of rioting over the unpopular pension reform.

Fresh flare-ups have erupted in the city centre in what has been described as “urban guerrilla warfare.”

For President Sarkozy, enough is enough.

“The troublemakers will not have the last word in a democracy, a republic. They don’t, for that matter, have anything to do with those protesting in good faith. They should not be lumped together,” he said.

“It is not acceptable. They will be stopped, tracked down and punished.”

Those being arrested have a diverse profile and include teenagers from privileged middle class backgrounds. Some face court almost immediately.

But the violence also underscores France’s long-simmering problem of city suburbs full of frustrated unemployed youths, many from immigrant families, who use demonstrations as a pretext to go on the rampage.

According to one government official in Lyon, the youngsters often use text messages and social networking sites to organise their movements.