when two teenagers were electrocuted in a tough, low-income suburb north of Paris as they hid in an electrical sub-station to flee a police identity check.And why is it that if your police are overwhelmed you have not called in your army to secure the riot-torn area, block by block and building by building, taking prisoners along the way? Or would that be politically incorrect, given that "those responsible are groups of young Muslim men" who seem to have found it unacceptable that two of their own should be foolish enough to electrocute themselves in an effort to evade lawful authority?
The riots have spread each night, eventually surrounding Paris then, overnight Thursday, flaring also in Marseille, Dijon and in Normandy -- and even in central parts of the capital itself.
Overwhelmed police have found themselves powerless to stop the conflagration, which has seen over 1,000 vehicles torched and more than 200 people arrested amid fears that the country's racial and social divisions were fuelling the violence, the worst seen since a 1968 student revolt.
As the violence has progressed, it has taken on an increasingly dangerous tone, with widespread fire-bombings, occasional shots fired at riot squads -- and prosecutors revealing that a handicapped woman was deliberately set on fire.
We are indeed fortunate that France chose not to "support" the war in Iraq. Merci beaucoup.