Paris Riots in Perspective

Most tourists never travel to these suburbs, but the commuter train from the Charles-de-Gaulle airport to the center of Paris does stop at most of these places.

Copycat Riots: The rock-throwing, torching of cars and other acts of vandalism have spread to other immigrant ghettos in the ring around Paris but have not yet occurred in the city's center.

Protesters have used the internet to get other cities to join the fight, with the ultimate goal of making the evening newscast, according to French newspaper, Le Figaro. There has been mild trouble reported in other cities, including Marseilles, Dijon and Perpignan.

Policing: A lot of these "ghetto" suburbs lack security and policing. Gangs, running the suburbs, have slowly pushed out police presence. In Seine-Saint-Denis, security personnel have fallen from 468 in 2000 to 205 now, according to Le Monde.

Housing Shortage: As in many cities around the world, Paris rents have gone through the roof. As a result, many people have been forced to move out or shack up in dilapitated buildings. Last year more than 100,000 people competed for 12,000 available subsidized housing units in Paris, according to official figures. Among the hardest-hit without housing are immigrants (legal and illegal.) The three back-to-back Paris fires over the spring and summer, which killed many children, occurred in such rundown buildings.

Political Backdrop: A week before the riots began, the interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy vowed a "merciless war" on suburban violence, and when the troubles started, he called the rioters "hoodlums." The rioting has become embroiled in the political succession war on the right between the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, and Sarkozy, ahead of the 2007 presidential elections.

Sources: National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), Central Intelligence Agency

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