- Title: FRANCE: Police and youths clash at Paris railway station
- Date: 29th March 2007
- Summary: MAN TAPING UP BROKEN WINDOW OF SHOE SHOP VARIOUS OF DEBRIS IN SHOE SHOP BROKEN WINDOW BEING BOARDED UP, PAN TO PEOPLE IN STATION
- Embargoed: 13th April 2007 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAB865O1VEWQAD0T8OL2TCSC5GM
- Story Text: Shop keepers were boarding up windows and clearing up debris in the Gare du Nord station in central Paris on Wednesday (March 28), after French police clashed with rioting youths there the night before. Officials said the confrontation at the Gare du Nord terminal began when police arrested a 33-year old illegal immigrant who attacked staff when asked to show his ticket. Scores of police in riot gear had to intervene.
Youths at the station, a hub for trains to suburbs north of Paris, said police had manhandled the suspect. Police used sprays to disperse youths who smashed shop windows. Thirteen people were arrested.
The centre-right candidate for the French presidential election Nicolas Sarkozy came to see the station on Wednesday, confirming his status as a law-and-order hard-liner which he had acquired during the riots that hit the poor suburbs around Paris and other French cities in 2005.
Sarkozy, who stepped down as interior minister on Monday (Monday 26) to focus on his campaign, justified the police action.
"The law enforcement forces were restrained in their reaction, very restrained. I am one of those that think that there can't be any democracy without rules. If there is no polItical responsibility then there is no authority. And seeing that, I would like to say that lessons in public administration are indeed necessary in our schools, so that even the very young learn that no-one has the right to just do what they want, and that you have respect other people's things. Go to England, go to the United States, go to the democracies in northern Europe, and if you don't pay to take the train, you will not be happy with not having paid because you will have found yourself in a situation of clashing with the police," Sarkozy said.
After initially being dominated by economic questions, France's election campaign has increasingly come to focus on issues of security and immigration this month.
Sarkozy is often accused by his critics of exploiting fears over security to help his political career. He points to rising public concern over safety in support of his tough approach. Security and immigration have taken centre stage as the presidential election campaign rolls on towards its first round of balloting on April 22.
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