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Last Updated: Monday, 14 November 2005, 22:49 GMT
Excerpts: Chirac reacts to riots
French President Jacques Chirac
Chirac said there were lessons to be learned from the riots
The following are excerpts from French President Jacques Chirac's first major televised speech to the nation since rioting began.

These events bear witness to a profound malaise. Some people have set fires in the very neighbourhoods in which they live.

They burned their neighbours' and their families' cars. They've attacked their schools, their colleges.

This is a crisis of direction, a crisis in which people have lost their way, it is a crisis of identity. We will respond to this by being firm, by being fair, and by being faithful to France's values.

Violence never solves anything. When you belong to our national community, you respect its rules.
President Chirac

In the face of the suffering and problems of so many of our fellow citizens - in particular, some who are among the most vulnerable - the first necessity is to re-establish public order.

I have given the government the means to act. I have decided to propose to parliament that it extends the law of 3 April 1955 (allowing for a state of emergency) for a limited time.

Those who attack property and people have to know that in the Republic, you do not violate the law without being arrested, prosecuted and punished.

Problems, difficulties - many French people have them. But violence never solves anything. When you belong to our national community, you respect its rules.

Children and teenagers need values, points of reference. Parental authority is of capital importance. Families must shoulder all their responsibilities.

Those who refuse must be punished as provided for in the law. On the other hand, those who are going through great difficulties must be actively supported.

We must all be proud of belonging to a community which has the will to bring to life the principles of equality and of solidarity.

We know well that discrimination saps the very foundations of our Republic... But let us not deceive ourselves: this fight can only be won if we each take a real and personal stand.

Companies and union organizations must also work actively on the essential question of diversity and of the employment of young people from problem districts.

My dear compatriots, let us be lucid, let us be courageous. Let us learn every lesson from this crisis. Each person must respect the rules. Each person must know that you do not violate the law with impunity.

But let us also come together and be faithful, in our actions, to the principles that make France. The whole national community will emerge better and stronger from it, and you can count on my determination. Long live the Republic and long live France.

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