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Last Updated: Monday, 7 November 2005, 17:21 GMT
French bloggers at odds over riots
A burned-out McDonald's restaurant in Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris
Dozens of buildings and thousands of cars have been burned
French youths have been turning to weblogs to express their anger and frustration over the violence that has hit some of the country's poorest suburbs.

As the rioting has spread, so has the debate between bloggers and their readers.

The deaths of two teenagers of African origin, which helped spark the riots, inspired a number of online tributes.

Bouna Traore, aged 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, "died for nothing", said one blogger, Bouna93 - the number is a reference to their home department of Seine-Saint-Denis.

"We love you guys... All of Clichy is with you," he added, referring to the town of Clichy-sous-Bois where the two teenagers died.

"We are all tense, we are all irritated and we are all mourning."

The blog Clichy-sous-Bombe prints photographs of the two teenagers, captioned "RIP".

One visitor commented: "Too young to die, they didn't deserve this!"

Threats

Tribute website Bouns93 gathered 1,700 comments from readers before it was shut down by its host for not following regulations.

Another, Banlieue93, has elicited more than 300 responses to its post calling for readers to pay their respects to the two teenagers.

I don't think Bouna and Zyed would be proud of you
Visitor to Les K1-Fry

But on many blogs, alongside messages of condolence were insults targeting police and threats of more violence.

"Clichy is avenging you," wrote blogger Les K1-Fry.

"France should be ashamed of the rotten police, and anyway France should be ashamed of herself with such a bad government," wrote a visitor.

"We burned shops last night, believe me the cops aren't safe," wrote a reader of the Banlieue93 blog.

"We're going to destroy everything," wrote another.

"All the departments should unite... and screw justice," wrote a third.

'Pointless'

But there is also considerable anger aimed at the rioters, who have caused damage to thousands of cars and dozens of buildings.

"They are angry at the police and yet they burn the cars of factory workers who aren't involved and who will have to work hard for the rest of their lives to pay for it," a visitor to Clichy-sous-Bombe wrote.

"Our neighbourhoods are already dilapidated, why destroy them even more?" wrote a visitor to Banlieue93.

"What do the rioters want, do play the [extreme right-wing anti-immigration political party] Front National's game, to have Baghdad in the 93?" asked a visitor to Les K1-Fry.

"Guys, stop destroying everything, it's pointless, I don't think Bouna and Zyed would be proud of you, avenging them by burning everything, by attacking innocent people," said another.

Others also said they had sympathy for the police, who have been blamed by some for the boys' deaths.

Bouna and Zyed "shouldn't have run away from the police", wrote a visitor to Banlieue93, and their deaths were "not the fault of the police... or of Sarko [Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy]".

"You have to be stupid to hide in an electric generator," wrote another.




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