[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 01:32 GMT
Curfew for riot-hit French towns
Gendarme on patrol in Les Moulins in Nice
Police are reporting a significant drop in violence
Curfews have come into force in more than 30 towns and cities across France after two weeks of night-time rioting.

Youths clashed with police in southern city of Toulouse and there were reports of sporadic violence elsewhere.

But the drop in violence seen overnight on Tuesday shows signs of continuing, said police. The Paris area, where the riots began, is said to be calm.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered the expulsion of all foreigners convicted of taking part in the riots.

He told parliament 120 foreigners had been found guilty of involvement and would be deported without delay.

'Very calm'

The government has declared a state of emergency in Paris and more than 30 other areas to help quell the unrest.

KEY TOWNS UNDER EMERGENCY DECREE
Paris region
Strasbourg
Lille
Nice
Marseille
Rouen
Toulouse
Amiens
Dijon
Le Havre

Curfews have been imposed in the western towns of Rouen, Le Havre and Evreux and the French Riviera region among others.

No-one under the age of 16 in those areas is allowed out unaccompanied by an adult between 2200 and 0600 (2100 and 0500 GMT) and is banned from buying petrol.

There are no curfews in the suburbs of Paris where the trouble started almost two weeks ago.

KEY FLASHPOINTS

Violence has tailed off in those neighbourhoods over the last few nights and the situation on Wednesday was said to be "very calm".

Across the country, there were reports of cars, two nursery schools and a car parts dealership set alight in incidents.

But only 40 vehicles had been burned by 2300 (2200 GMT), a "sharp decline" compared with previous nights, police said.

Support for powers

Mr Sarkozy told MPs on Wednesday that non-French nationals - "not all of whom are here illegally" - had been convicted of taking part in the attacks.

"I have asked the prefects to deport them from our national territory without delay, including those who have a residency visa," he said.

CURFEW LAW
Cabinet can declare state of emergency in all or part of the country
Regional leaders given exceptional powers to apply curfew
Breach of curfew could mean two-month jail sentence
Police can carry out raids on suspected weapons stockpiles
Interior minister can issue house-arrest warrants for those deemed dangerous to public safety
Public meeting places can be closed down
House searches possible day or night
Authorities can control media, film and theatre performances
Emergency can only be extended beyond 12 days if approved by parliament

The nightly protests have gripped deprived areas where unemployment is rife and residents complain of racism and discrimination.

The unrest was first sparked by the deaths in the run-down Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois of two youths, who were accidentally electrocuted at an electricity sub-station.

The emergency powers handed to local authorities have been invoked under a 1955 law. This is the first time they have been implemented in mainland France.

They allow a state of emergency to be declared in defined areas, and can be extended by parliament after 12 days.

Curfews can be implemented, police can carry out house searches and public meetings can be banned under the measures.

Nearly three out of four French people support the powers, according to a poll published in the daily Le Parisien newspaper.

But some opposition parties, and the French magistrates association, have described them as a danger to civil liberties.

The far-right French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen told the BBC that rioters should have their French citizenship revoked.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific