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Last Updated: Monday, 7 November 2005, 12:26 GMT
French violence hits fresh peak
French police in Grigny, near Paris
Police say they were ambushed by a mob in Grigny
A night of rioting in France has left 1,408 vehicles burnt out and resulted in 395 arrests - the highest tolls yet in 11 nights of unrest.

Ten policemen were injured by shots and stones when they confronted 200 rioters in the Paris suburb of Grigny, with two policemen seriously hurt.

President Jacques Chirac has said restoring order is his top priority.

Meanwhile a man who fell into a coma after being beaten last week is thought to be the first fatality of the unrest.

Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, 61, was reportedly struck by a hooded man in the street after he and a neighbour went to inspect damage to bins near their apartment block in the town of Stains, in the Seine-Saint-Denis region outside Paris.

His widow has been received by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

Appeal to Muslims

Muslim leaders of African and Arab communities have also issued a fatwa, or religious order, against the riots.

"It is strictly forbidden for any Muslim... to take part in any action that strikes blindly at private or public property or that could threaten the lives of others," the fatwa by the Union of Islamic Organisations in France said.

Hundreds of cars were set on fire in different towns on Sunday night, and police had to use tear gas to disperse a club-wielding mob in Toulouse.

Unrest has gripped areas with large African and Arab communities since the deaths of two youths in the rundown Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, who were accidentally electrocuted at an electricity sub-station after reportedly fleeing police.

Mr Sarkozy's oft-cited description of urban vandals as "rabble" (racaille) a few days before the riots began is said by many to have fuelled tensions.

Reports of a police tear gas grenade hitting a mosque during the riots further inflamed feelings.

Despite the controversy over Mr Sarkozy's remarks, a CSA opinion poll published in Le Parisien at the weekend showed him with a nationwide approval rating of 57%.

Police under attack

The two police officers were injured by gunfire in what police described as an "ambush" in Grigny late on Sunday.

France has been set ablaze by the embers of a racial resentment that the Villepin government has been incapable of extinguishing
Spanish daily ABC

They were taken to hospital with wounds to the leg and throat.

Police chiefs said their men were being deliberately confronted by gangs apparently intent on fighting them.

"They really shot at officers, said local police commander Bernard Franio.

"This is real, serious violence - not like the previous nights. I'm very worried because this is mounting."

In the southern city of Toulouse, police fired tear gas grenades to push back rioters and violent attacks were also reported in Marseille, Saint-Etienne and Lille.

Of the 1,408 vehicles burnt, 982 were attacked outside the Paris region as the "shock wave" from the Paris region reached the provinces, in the words of national police chief Michel Gaudin.

"The law must have the last word," Mr Chirac told reporters in his first public address on the violence on Sunday.

He promised arrest, trials and punishment for perpetrators but added that "respect for all, justice and equal opportunity," were needed to end the unrest.

Mr Chirac had faced criticism from opposition politicians for not speaking publicly about the unrest since it began on 27 October.

Clichy-sous-Bois: Two teenagers die in electricity sub-station on 27 October. Successive nights of rioting follow rumours they were fleeing police. A number of people arrested or injured
Aulnay-sous-Bois: A flashpoint after violence spread from Clichy. Shots fired at police and cars and shops set ablaze. Further trouble in nearby suburbs, with more shots fired at police
Elsewhere in France: From 3 November, violence spreads to other major cities including Dijon, Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg
Grigny: Overnight clashes in the Paris suburb of Grigny on 6-7 November leave 10 police injured, two seriously
Raincy:Curfew imposed on 7 November following rioting

See the violence in three French cities

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