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French Police and the Riots

But Patrice Ribeiro of the Synergie Officiers police union said that political ideology had handcuffed police during the last three decades, in effect handing over public housing to entrenched criminal networks that deal in drugs and stolen goods. The trend began with leftist governments in the 1980s and continued with rightist leaders, he said.

“For years, we had instructions not to go into the projects,” Ribeiro said. “There was an ideology that it was a provocation. So we left a lot of people with the idea that it was their turf and police weren’t supposed to intrude…. We abandoned all those people, and most of them are honest people. We abandoned them in neighborhoods that have rotted.”

Tensions rose after the center-right government wrested power from the Socialist Party in 2002 and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy ordered police to reclaim turf from gangs and Islamic extremists who had become powerful in the cites. Most officers admire Sarkozy, calling him a rare leader who is in touch with street reality. ~The Los Angeles Times

In other words, Sarkozy’s attempts to rectify the mistakes of the Socialist government have run up against the forces that were allowed to establish and entrench themselves during a period of government indifference and cowardice. The strength of these slum gangs today is a direct result of the hands-off, “tolerant” approach of the left.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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