Post-election violence continues for third night in France

Left-wing protesters against Sarkozy's presidency burn 200 cars; 80 people taken in for questioning.

paris riots 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
paris riots 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Post-election violence continued for a third night across France, with about 200 vehicles torched by rioters and more than 80 people taken in for questioning, the interior minister said Wednesday. The violence has largely been carried out by left-wing and anarchist troublemakers angered by conservative Nicolas Sarkozy's win in presidential elections Sunday. They oppose his free-market reforms and tough line on crime and immigration. Though violence continued late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the third night after the election was much calmer than the previous two, said Interior Minister Francois Baroin. About 730 cars were burned nationwide Sunday night and 592 people were arrested. The following night, 373 vehicles were torched and 160 people were taken in for questioning across France. Baroin called the violence and vandalism "unacceptable." Political sentiment "must be expressed at the polling stations, not in the streets," Baroin told France-Info radio. Sarkozy, who beat Socialist Segolene Royal in a runoff poll Sunday, is a divisive figure whose tough language and policies have angered many on the left - and in the immigrant-dominated suburban housing projects that exploded into rioting in 2005. This week, most of the troublemakers have been white, unlike during the 2005 riots. Those riots involved many black and Arab youth angry over discrimination and alienation from mainstream society.