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French rioting appears to lose strength
Updated: 2005-11-09 21:48

France's storm of rioting lost strength Wednesday, with car burnings falling nearly by half, police said. But looters and vandals still defied a state of emergency with attacks on superstores, a newspaper warehouse and a subway station.

Riot policemen patrol the southern suburban town of Le Kremlin-Bicetre near Paris, late Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2005. A government-declared 12-day state of emergency began in riot-torn France on Wednesday , giving cities and towns the power to impose curfew in response to 13 nights of the country's worst civil unrest in decades. Savigny-sur-Orge is among the French cities imposing a curfew for minors. [AP]

The extraordinary 12-day state of emergency, which went into effect Tuesday at midnight, covered Paris, its suburbs and more than 30 other French cities from the Mediterranean to the border with Germany and to Rouen in the north — an indication of how widespread arson, riots and other unrest have become in nearly two weeks of violence.

The emergency decree invoked a 50-year-old security law that dates to France's colonial war in Algeria. It empowers officials to put troublemakers under house arrest, ban or limit the movement of people and vehicles, confiscate weapons and close public spaces where gangs gather. It also paved the way for curfews in areas where officials feel they are needed.

Seventy-three percent of respondents in a poll published Wednesday in daily Le Parisien said they agreed with the curfew.
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