French police the target in urban guerrilla war

Reuters Jon Boyle, Nov. 27, 2006

PARIS (Reuters) – Stoned, beaten and insulted, their vehicles torched by crowds of hostile youths, French police say they face an urban guerrilla war when they enter the run-down neighborhoods that ring the major cities.

“Our role is to guarantee the safety of people and property but the great difficulty today is that police are having problems ensuring their own safety,” said Jerome Hanarte of the Alliance-Police Nationale union.

Bedside television interviews with officers hospitalized after beatings in “les banlieues,” or suburbs, support statistics showing a 6.7 percent jump in violent crime in the 12 months to August.

Fourteen officers are hurt every day in the line of duty, unions estimate, and law and order is sure to feature prominently in next year’s presidential election.

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