Just in from AP:
PARIS – Rioting by French youths spread to 300 towns overnight and a man hurt in the violence died of his wounds, the first fatality in 11 days of unrest that has shocked the country, police said Monday.
As urban unrest spread to neighboring Belgium and possibly Germany, the French government faced growing criticism for its inability to stop the violence, despite massive police deployment and continued calls for calm.
On Sunday night, vandals burned more than 1,400 vehicles, and clashes around the country left 36 police injured, setting a new high for overnight arson and violence since rioting started Oct. 27, Michel Gaudin told a news conference.
Australia, Austria, Britain, Germany and Hungary advised their citizens to exercise care in France, joining the United States and Russia in warning tourists to stay away from violence-hit areas….
France’s biggest Muslim fundamentalist organization, the Union for Islamic Organizations of France, issued a fatwa, or religious decree. It forbade all those “who seek divine grace from taking part in any action that blindly strikes private or public property or can harm others.”
Arsonists burned two schools and a bus in the central city of Saint-Etienne and its suburbs, and two people were injured in the bus attack. Churches were set ablaze in northern Lens and southern Sete, he said.
In Colombes in suburban Paris, youths pelted a bus with rocks, sending a 13-month-old child to the hospital with a head injury, Hamon said, while a daycare center was burned in Saint-Maurice, another Paris suburb.
Much of the youths’ anger has focused on law-and-order Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, whose reference to the troublemakers as “scum” appeared to inflame passions.
Yes, he called them scum, causing them to act like…scum. This makes about as much sense as the people who tell me that when I point out the problems in Islamic texts and teachings, I am hurting moderate Muslims — as if pretending that something is not a problem will make the problem go away, or calling something by its right name is somehow wrong.