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Chirac promises to prosecute those responsible for riots

[JURIST] French President Jacques Chirac [BBC profile] Monday delivered his first televised address [text, in French; translated excerpts] since a recent surge of violence began in France [JURIST news archive] nineteen days ago, promising that justice would be meted out to those responsible for the riots. "Those who make attacks against property and people must know that in a republic, they cannot violate the law without being arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned," he said, combining reassurances with a request for parliamentary approval of an extended three month state of emergency [JURIST report]. Some 2,700 people have been arrested since the beginning of the violence, and France is preparing to deport all foreign citizens charged with participating in the riots. The cities of Paris and Lyon banned public meetings [JURIST report] this past weekend after the central government authorized local authorities to exercise emergency powers [JURIST reports] to prevent further violence and property damage. Commentators suggest that the riots are fueled by larger racial and class-based tensions existent in France, symbolized by the debate last spring over the French government's banning [JURIST report] of religious dress [JURIST news archive], including Muslim head scarves [BBC report], in schools. Bloomberg has more. Le Monde has local coverage, in French.

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