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UPDATED: 18:08, November 05, 2005
Flares engulf warehouses as unrest dragged into 9th day
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Photo:A Chinese business man wipes his face as his over 2000-square-metre warehouse was set on fire during the riot in Paris suburb Le Blanc-Mesnil in France, Nov. 4, 2005.  (Xinhua photo)
A Chinese business man wipes his face as his over 2000-square-metre warehouse was set on fire during the riot in Paris suburb Le Blanc-Mesnil in France, Nov. 4, 2005. (Xinhua photo)
Two warehouses in Seine-Saint-Denis, two other buildings in the suburb of Val d'Oise, and over 120 vehicles nationwide were set ablaze in France as the nation's worst unrest in decades dragged into the ninth day on Friday.

Firemen rushed to Val d'Oise to extinguish blazes on more than ten cars and two buildings, while flames flared up Friday in several other locations despite heavy police deployment.

At least 78 people have been captured overnight on Thursday around the suburban regions of Paris, the French National Police General Direction said Friday.

Days of arson attacks also put the authorities on fire. The French Communist Party on Friday urged Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to step down, saying his policy is "a total failure."

"The interior minister's policy, recycling ideas of the far-right is more than a total failure: it stirs all the tensions and generates the results strictly contrary to what it pretends to obtain," the party said.

The party also called on the French government to recognize its failure in public and decide a radical change of its public security policy.

While determined to restore order and justice, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has acknowledged that people living in high-immigrant areas need security, recognition, hope, respect and future, promising further help with the youths in those areas in seeking jobs.

The government has also presented an initial report on an investigation into the deaths of the two teenagers, identified respectively as Bouna Traore, 15, born in Mauritania, and Zyed Benna, 17, of Tunisian origin.

Violence was sparkled by the accidental deaths of the two teenagers last week in Seine-Saint-Denis in northeast Paris, an area which is home to many poor Muslim immigrants from North Africa.

The two victims scaled the wall of an electrical relay station to flee a police identity check and were electrocuted near a transformer.

Young people in the suburban areas went on a rampage at the two deaths, while some others from the high-immigration neighborhoods joined in, protesting unemployment and other problems.

Riots first began in Seine-Saint-Denis, and have spread to areas surrounding Paris before flaring up also in Marseille, Dijonand in Normandy -- and even in central parts of the capital itself.

Heavy police deployment has seemed to be doing little help in quenching out the flames. Some 1,300 police officers have been sent to Seine-Saint-Denis, the place worst hit by the violence.

According to police estimates, over 1,260 vehicles have so far been torched and more than 200 people arrested amid fears that the country's racial and social divisions were fueling the violence, the worst seen since a 1968 student revolt.

Source: Xinhua/agencies

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