Thursday, 1 August 2013

Trouble in Trappes

Events in Trappes have not so far impinged on the British media consciousness but they are the talk of France. Probably this is due to journalistic indolence rather than any serious attempt suppress news. Also, waiting for a royal baby is far more productive than reporting the collapse of law and order in the country next door.

But we should pay attention to France, simply because they are slightly closer to the edge of the cliff than us. What happens in France today will happen in the UK in a few years' time.

Trappes is basically a suburb of Paris; a collection of towns about 15 miles from the centre of Paris. A couple of weeks ago a muslim lady from Trappes was minding her own business, walking along the street in a full-face, illegal-in-France, veil, a respectful few paces behind her husband when a policeman decided to ask to see some ID and her face. The husband took this badly and attempted to strangle the policeman. Some other policemen then arrested the man and took him to the local "commissariat" (police station) in Trappes. Not unreasonably, you might think.

Illegal full-face veil

However the local muslim population decided to spring him from jail and that night 300 of them surrounded the station, throwing stones and burning cars. A rather coy BBC report referred to youths rather than muslims. The French interior minister sent in the infamous French riot police to protect the station (successfully) and the man in question was later released on bail.

Nighttime rioting then spread to other towns in the area. The French government tries hard not to publish provocative numbers but it seems that so far 21 police officers have been injured; 256 cars have been burned and 337 fireworks/petrol bombs have been launched at police. (The fireworks are reported as "tirs de mortiers" which means mortar rounds - but this should not be taken literally, yet!)

All this because one woman was told to take off a burqa which is illegal in France anyway.

A low-grade civil war has been rumbling along in France ever since 2005 when two "youths" hid from police in an electrical substation and were killed, triggering three months of rioting.

The good news is this can never happen here in the UK because burqas are not illegal here. In fact in UK they are more likely to become compulsory before they ever become illegal!

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