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253 arrested as French rioting spreads on ninth night

[JURIST] More than 250 people were arrested Friday night in France as rioting spread from the poor suburbs of Paris into the cities of Strasbourg and Rennes. The riots, which began late last week, originated in Parisian ghettos, where jobless rates for males under 25 years old are approaching 25%; for Muslim residents under 25 years old, the rates are closer to 35-40%. The violence apparently started on October 27 after two immigrant youths - one from Tunisia and one from sub-Saharan Africa - were electrocuted in a Paris electrical sub-station where they had fled after allegedly being pursued by police. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [BBC profile] promised Thursday that restoring order is at the top of the government’s agenda, and that police “will not give in” to the rioters. Commentators suggest that the tension in the ghettos is related to larger racial and religious issues in France, symbolized by the debate last spring over the French government's banning [JURIST report] of religious dress [JURIST archive], including Muslim head scarves [BBC report], in schools. Bloomberg has more.

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