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Last Updated: Friday, 11 November 2005, 16:53 GMT
Paris rallies banned in riot fear
Police check bags of people during armistice day commemorations
The number of police on the streets of Paris has increased
All public meetings likely to provoke disturbances are to be banned in the French capital, police have announced.

The ban will begin at 0900 GMT on Saturday and end at 0700 GMT on Sunday.

The police statement said the measure followed calls for "violent acts" in Paris on 12 November contained in recent e-mail and text messages.

Rioting that erupted two weeks ago is now less intense across France, but unrest persists in impoverished immigrant communities around Paris.

Night curfews for youths are still in force in several areas.


Residents of suburban riot hotspots staged a sit-in near the Eiffel Tower on Friday, calling for an end to the car burnings and vandalism.

Police blocked large areas of central Paris ahead of ceremonies to commemorate the end of World War I.

"Today, we don't want an armistice - we want peace," national police chief Michel Gaudin told reporters.

"An armistice is a temporary halt. What we want is definitive peace for the suburbs."

He said there was a "downward trend" in the incidence of violence "with some resistance in the Paris region".

"This weekend we will exercise extra vigilance in the Paris region," Mr Gaudin said.

Emergency in force

The government has declared a state of emergency in Paris and more than 30 other areas to help quell the unrest, in some areas using curfews to ban youths from the streets at night.

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.

On Thursday, President Jacques Chirac acknowledged that France had "undeniable problems" in poor city areas and must respond effectively.

"Whatever our origins we are all the children of the Republic and we can all expect the same rights," he said.

Mr Chirac defended his use of state-of-emergency legislation, and said the priority was still to restore order.


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