French President Jacques Chirac has condemned those responsible for the violence that has gripped the country for an 11th night. Addressing the issue publicly for the first time, Chirac promised that restoring public order and security would be top of the agenda.
“But,” he added, “we understand that the evolution of things assumes the respect of everyone, justice and equality of opportunity, and we are absolutely determined to take that path and to make every effort in this area.”
His political opponents say Chirac should have spoken sooner.
Prime Minister Dominque de Villepin has announced that police officers will receive reinforcements where needed. He has said he will unveil an action plan today.
Police unions are calling for the army to be drafted in and for a curfew to be imposed after officers were shot at by rioters.
Meanwhile, one of France’s largest Islamic groups has issued a fatwa against the violence after officials suggested Muslim militants could be to blame.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and other officials have hinted that angry teenagers are being manipulated by those with a political agenda.