First fatality announced after 11 days of violence in France
The first fatality resulting from the violence which has shaken France in recent days was announced on Monday, following 11 consecutive days of unrest between French police and rioters.
The victim, 60-year-old Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, died after being beaten by youth outside his home in the Stains suburb, north of Paris. Chenadec had fallen into a coma ever since the beating.
France's Le Parisien newspaper made Chenadec's name public after his death was confirmed by a French Ministry of Interior spokesman, according to Reuters.
The death follows what is considered the most day violent day since the unrest began on October 27. Ten French police were injured, two seriously, while fighting some 250 to 300 rioters on Sunday who opened fire on them in the town of Grigny, south of Paris. Other attacks were also reported in Orleans, Rennes and Nantes.
The violence, which has been concentrated in France's working-class African and Arab communities, has resulted in some 1,300 cars being burned along with businesses, schools and other symbols of French authority targeted.
More than 300 arrests were made on Saturday alone following the torching of a nursery school, according to the Scottsman. Four police officers were also injured on Saturday by baseball bat wielding rioters.
President Jacques Chirac made the first public address on the matter since the unrest began, saying that "The law must have the last word, " and that order will prevail in the face of rioting.
He added that "respect for all, justice and equal opportunity," were needed to put an end to the attacks. France's Muslim community was particularly distressed when a tear gas bomb landed in a mosque last week, forcing worshippers to flee.
Chirac has been criticised by many for not responding earlier to the violence, which began when two youths were accidentally electrocuted in the Paris suburb. It has been described as France's worst civil unrest since 1968.
Muslim group issues Fatwa against riots
In response to the unrest, thought to be spurred by several Islamist groups disenchanted by discrimination and poverty faced by Arab and African communities, one of the country's largest Islamic organizations on Sunday issued a fatwa against participation in the violence.
The group, the Union of French Islamic Organisations, condemned the riots, quoting the Koran to back up its call for calm, according to Reuters.
The statement, which was aimed at France's Muslim community, said that "contributing to such exactions is an illicit act."
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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