A heavy handed police identity check, in one of France's deprived suburbs during last year's riots. One year on, relations between youths and police have not budged an inch, and Police officers are raising the alarm. Gérard Mazy is a thirty four year old officer, he is married with two children. He works in Sevran, in northern Paris. He and his colleagues are afraid of patrolling in the dense and run down housing estates there.
"Everywhere we go they throw stones at us, any kind of projectile actually, metal drain covers, cannon ball sized steel projectiles, old bicycles that they throw from the fourth, eighth, or tenth floor. When that happens all we can do is leave: that's not what our job is supposed to be! My wife is afraid, it's true that as soon as you put your uniform on, you're in danger!"
Last week, three of Gérard's colleagues were ambushed in the suburb of Epinay-sur-Seine. One was hospitalised, requiring thirty stitches on his face. Gérard Mazy complains that there even blogs on the internet, explaining the best way to ambush policemen.
In Clichy-sous-Bois, ten kilometres west of Sevran, teenagers just hanging out near the town hall, say the police are getting what they deserve. Manu and Omar are both fifteen. They say they are constantly hassled, and that officers show no respect and even beats them on occasion. That's why Omar says, when we see policemen, we throw rocks at them.
"The solution is neighbourhood police, where officers know the locals well and where citizens know and recognise local police officers. That's why Bouna and Zyed decided to escape and hide when they saw the police, because they didn't know how the ID check would end. They had heard lots of stories of friends getting beating up during ID checks or in custody, so they were afraid. Bouna and Zyed were half an hour away from breaking the fast, but it's their lives that were broken at the end, and those of their relatives."
Samir's organisation will be releasing a hip hop album next month to pay tribute to Bouna and Zyed, the main single is called "dead for nothing". The tragic deaths of Bouna and Zyed sparked off riots in Clichy-sous-Bois, and lead to repeated overnight violence across the nation over a period of three weeks, during which thousands of cars were torched. They have raised awareness over France's ghettos, but little has changed in Clichy-sous-Bois. Olivier Klein is the town's deputy mayor.
Very little has changed in the daily lives of people here, and that's the starting point, because it's the extreme poverty of families, who feel that they've been abandoned, if we start addressing society's problems and solve unemployment, lack of transport and the housing shortage in our suburbs, then, at least that's what I am hoping, there will be ever fewer clashes between police and our youths.
It takes time to fix a suburb so to speak. There is no suburban train station in Clichy-sous-Bois, not a single job centre, despite unemployment topping the forty per cent mark. It also takes time to destroy derelict buildings and erect new ones. So, to restore pride and confidence in the short term, the city council has invited world famous photographers and locals, to take pictures of their town. The exhibition is called "Clichy sans clichés", or Clichy without clichés.
The council has displayed giant colourful pictures all over the town, on bill-boards, building walls on so on, but these fail to conceal the cracks of the buildings, and the divide in society.
Policemen from Gerard's UNSA trade union are organising a sit in outside Paris next Tuesday, meanwhile on Wednesday, NGO's from Clichy-sous-Bois and from suburbs across the nation, will march to the national assembly to hand over complaints and proposals for the future of the country's impoverished estates.Listen to the report:
His Christian Democrats are rising in the polls and are now in a dead heat with the opposition Labor Party. Mr Balkenende has ushered the Netherlands through a rocky period since his first election campaign in 2002.... a period that included two political assassinations and the premature collapse of two of his cabinets. And even in the past few weeks, his party was hit by controversy - when it scrapped ethnic-Turkish candidates from the ballot list after they refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. In an exclusive interview for Radio Netherlands, Richard Walker asked the Prime Minister whether the voters will choose his party in November.
Turkey has its first Nobel Prize winner, with Orhan Pamuk winning the prize for literature. But surprisingly his award has not been met with universal celebration in Turkey. The writer has become the target of the country's growing nationalist movement, which consider him a traitor. That's because Pamuk has frequently spoken out about the killing of Armenians in Turkey 90 years ago. To make matters worse for the author on the day of the announcing of his Nobel Prize, the French parliament passed a bill, which criminalizes the denial of the Armenian genocide, something Turkey strongly denies. The 2 events have placed Pamuk at the centre of the perfect nationalist storm, Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul
Recently, Romanian and Bulgarian authorities spotted an oil slick on the surface of the Danube River. It soon became apparent that the oil installations at Prahovo in Serbia were to be blamed for the release of an "undetermined quantity" of heating oil into the Danube, one of Europe's most important environmental and economic river-ways. In less than a week the Romanian authorities managed to clean the 50 km long oil slick of oil spending more than 300 thousand Euros in the process . Fortunately the damage to the environment was minimal. But now the question is: Who is foot the 300 thousand euro clean up bill? Radio Romania International's Iulian Muresan reports that the lack of trans-boundary environmental legislation in countries outside the EU renders these kinds of issues even thornier than they already are.
The Security Council voted unanimously last week to impose sanctions against North Korea. But some analysts have questioned the wisdom behind the resolution and are asking if this is the best method to deal with the issue. One of the vocal critics is Sweden's Hans Blix, former chief weapons inspector in Iraq and now Chairman of the independent Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. He tells Azariah Kiros that he sees the Security Council sanctions as understandable but hardly advisable.
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