The 9-3/Riots of 2005

Seine St. Denis is a banlieue of Paris, located to the north-east of Paris. To those that live in it, however, it is called simply “the 9-3”, le neuf-trois, as the area is designated Department of France number ninety-three. It is the department with the highest immigrant population—about 25%--and is where many of the riots (insert link) took place in 2005. Unemployment is rampant, poverty severe, and drugs and prostitution plague an already crippled population. The banlieue is where France puts its marginalized citizens, its undesirables. It is the ghetto. <br /><br />"La banlieue has more than a geographic meaning. It is also a matter of mentality. We feel cut off from the rest of French society. When we look for a job, employers don't want to hire us because we come from the suburbs, because we have African names, because we're black. What they always forget is that we are French citizens."<br />-Matt Moerdock, a Congo-born, banlieue-raised MC<br /><br />The most violent riots began on Thursday, October 27, 2005, three North-African youths, accidentally electrrocuted as they tried to evade the police. The flics, or cops, had been looking for break-in suspects and had asked the three (who had been playing soccer at the time) for identification. Two of the boys died; the third was hospitalized. Clichy-sous-Bois has three main ethnic groups: the Arabs, the blacks, and the Turks. The three boys were representatives from each.<br /><br />Bands of youths roamed the streets not only of Clichy but also poor urban areas all over France, burning cars, throwing rocks and other types of vandalism. The was the worst civil disobedience in the last decade. Barely a week before the riots began, minister of the interior Nicholas Sarkozy pledged to fight a "merciless war" on banlieue violence, and called the rioters "hoodlums."

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