Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Situation normal. All fouled up.

France is no longer in a state of emergency:

And to celebrate:

PARIS, Jan 4 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac vowed Wednesday to bring to justice a gang that terrorised hundreds of train passengers in a long rampage of violence, robbery and sexual assault on New Year's Day.

....The gang boarded the train, heading from Nice on the French Riviera to Lyon, in eastern France, early on January 1, as it carried 600 passengers home from New Year's Eve partying overnight.

Once inside, they went wild, forcing passengers to hand over mobile telephones and wallets, and slashing seats and breaking windows.

A 20-year-old woman cornered by several of the marauders was sexually molested.

Train staff alerted police, and the train pulled into a station to wait. The three officers who initially turned up had to wait for reinforcements before boarding, during which time the youths continued to wreak havoc.

"It was a real scene of pillage on the train," the regional state prosecutor, Dominique Luiggi, told reporters Monday.

The passengers were in a state of "panic," he said.

The train then resumed its journey with a heavy police presence on board but, just before Marseille, the youths pulled the emergency stop and escaped by running along the tracks.

Only three -- two 19-year-old Moroccans and a minor, all living in France -- were arrested.

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