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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 11:57 GMT
Sarkozy issues warning to rioters
French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets injured policeman
Mr Sarkozy called shooting at officers "completely unacceptable"
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to bring to justice rioters who shot at police in Paris in urban unrest that followed the death of two youths.

Mr Sarkozy, visiting policemen injured in the riots, said such shootings could not be tolerated.

He also met families of the teenagers killed in a collision with a police car and pledged to hold a judicial inquiry.

Mr Sarkozy then headed into crisis talks with key ministers to prevent the spread of three nights of rioting.

There was a decrease in violence on Tuesday night, but there were still arson attacks in some parts of Paris and in the southern city of Toulouse.

'Search for truth'

Mr Sarkozy touched down from a state visit to China on Wednesday morning and headed straight to a hospital in Eaubonne, northern Paris, to visit some of the 120 officers injured in the rioting.

Afterwards he said: "Opening fire at officials is completely unacceptable... [this] has a name - attempted murder... Those who take it into their hands to shoot at officials will find themselves in court.

"It is not something that we can tolerate, no matter how dramatic the deaths of these two youngsters on a motorbike may be."

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Mr Sarkozy later met the families of the two teenagers, both of North African descent, and said he was opening a judicial inquiry into the deaths.

A lawyer for the families, Jean-Pierre Mignard, welcomed the move, saying it would allow relatives and their representatives "to participate actively in the search for the truth".

Mr Sarkozy then held emergency talks at the Elysee Palace with Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and other senior members of the government.

Extra police were deployed to prevent further violence on Tuesday night.

Violence was down, but dozens of cars and several buildings were still set on fire in the worst-hit suburb, Villiers-le-Bel, in the north of the capital.

Petrol bombs were also thrown in Les Mureaux, north-west of Paris, and a flaming chair was thrown through the window of a school in Vitry-sur-Seine, south of the capital.

In Toulouse, about 20 cars were torched.

However, clashes with police were limited and only a few officers were hurt.

Mr Fillon said: "The situation is much calmer than the two previous nights but we can all feel that it remains fragile.

"The government will do all it can to ensure that order returns as soon as possible."

Initial findings

Relatives of the two teenagers have insisted that police rammed the motorcycle the boys were riding before leaving them to die on Sunday.

Families visit the Elysee Palace
Families of the teenagers were told of a judicial inquiry

The initial findings of an internal police probe, which found that police were not to blame, sparked anger in Villiers-le-Bel.

Police say the motorcycle was going at top speed and was not registered for street use, while the two boys - who have been named only as Moushin, 15, and Larami, 16 - were not wearing helmets and had been ignoring traffic rules.

Police unions have said the rioting is more intense than during weeks of clashes in the French suburbs in 2005, because firearms are now more frequently used.

The 2005 unrest, also sparked by the deaths of two youths, spread from a nearby suburb of Paris to other cities and continued for three weeks, during which more than 10,000 cars were set ablaze and 300 buildings firebombed.



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President Sarkozy visits injured officers in hospital



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Paris riots continue
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Probe ordered into Paris deaths
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07 Dec 06 |  Europe
Timeline: French riots
14 Nov 05 |  Europe




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