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Last Updated: Monday, 7 November 2005, 22:01 GMT
Villepin interview: excerpts
Dominique de Villepin
De Villepin condemned the riots, but said France had to change

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has been interviewed on television on his government's response to rioting in towns and cities throughout the country.

The following are excerpts from the interview:

Condemnation

"Allow me to say first of all that the violent incidents which we have seen over the last few days are unacceptable.

"Whether we take the case of two men beaten to death in Stains, in Epinay; or the case of a disabled woman who was burnt; or the increasing number of acts of destruction of schools, of gymnasiums, thousands of cars set on fire: all this is unacceptable and inexcusable."

'Firm and fair'

"My thoughts at this time are with all the French, all the French who are watching us, who are worried, who are shocked, and who long for a return to normality, a return to security.

"The response of the state - I am saying this forcefully tonight - will be firm and fair."

More police

"Today there are 8,000 men on the ground. And we have decided at an internal security meeting under the authority of the President of the Republic, and with the Interior Minister, to call up 1,500 reservists - gendarmes and police.

"That makes 9,500 police and gendarmes on the ground."

Young people

"I have received a large number of young people in the course of the last months and the last days, and everywhere they all express the same suffering - the feeling of having the finger pointed at them, the feeling of not having the same chances, the feeling of being different.

"There, too, we must provide an answer. It's everyone's responsibility."

"There are a lot of initiatives at the state level - the creation of a top authority for fighting discrimination, which we want to give its own power of sanction - there are businesses which take action, through the diversity charter, to offer these young people jobs."

Challenge for France

"It's also the responsibility of each of us to change our behaviour, to change the way we look at people.

"All those in the Republic, whatever their age, have duties towards the nation and towards the Republic: a fraternal Republic, a Republic that wants to bring people together, a welcoming Republic but a Republic that must be respected, where each person, where others must be respected for what they are.

"That is the challenge we must face together."

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