Sarkozy Moves to Stop Violence, Rioting French President Nicolas Sarkozy moves to quell the violence, promising punishment for rioters who attacked police. He attended memorial services for the two teenagers who died Sunday in a collision with a police car, which was the incident that sparked the rioting, and addressed police and the nation.
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Sarkozy Moves to Stop Violence, Rioting

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Sarkozy Moves to Stop Violence, Rioting

Sarkozy Moves to Stop Violence, Rioting

Sarkozy Moves to Stop Violence, Rioting

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy moves to quell the violence, promising punishment for rioters who attacked police. He attended memorial services for the two teenagers who died Sunday in a collision with a police car, which was the incident that sparked the rioting, and addressed police and the nation.

Friends and classmates of the two boys killed when their motorbike hit a police car reflect at a memorial near the spot of the accident. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR hide caption

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Eleanor Beardsley, NPR

Friends and classmates of the two boys killed when their motorbike hit a police car reflect at a memorial near the spot of the accident.

Eleanor Beardsley, NPR

JOHN YDSTIE, Host:

Eleanor Beardsley visited the scene of the riots and sent this report.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: The town councilmember Silva Ransabi(Ph) says places like Villiers-le-Bel are powder kegs waiting to explode.

SILVA RANSABI: (French spoken)

BEARDSLEY: But French President Nicolas Sarkozy disagrees. He gave his assessment of the situation while speaking to police officers Thursday.

NICOLAS SARKOZY: (Through translator) What happened in Villiers-le-Bel has nothing to do with the social crisis. It's about a federal crisis. If we allow little hoodlums to go unpunished and become heroes in their neighborhoods, that's an insult to their future and to the French Republic.

BEARDSLEY: Fifteen-year-old Abdel Latash(ph) was their classmate. He crumples up a wrapper from the flowers he has just placed on the memorial. Latash and the others gathered here said the deaths were no accident.

ABDEL LATASH: (French spoken)

BEARDSLEY: Their attitude is not surprising says Luke Bornier(ph) who covers the suburbs for the newspaper Le Monde. Bornier says the relationship between police and young people in neighborhoods, like this, has degenerated over the last two years.

LUKE BORNIER: (Through translator) There's a small radical group of young people ready to wreak total havoc on the police, and at the same time, some of the police behavior is at the limit of what is acceptable, so the two sides are hardening against each other.

BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Villiers-le-Bel, France.

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