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Frustration and anger fuel unrest

By CNN's Jim Bittermann

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Policeman patrol in the northern Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

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Riots
Paris (France)

PARIS, France (CNN) -- For five nights in a row, police battled stone-throwing youths in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. And in recent nights, the violence has spread to other suburbs.

The rioting began with the accidental deaths of two teenagers, who ran from police after a tear gas grenade went off in a neighborhood mosque during prayers.

Each day, authorities say they have tried to calm the situation. But in the streets, others insist that the authorities have not been forthcoming about the deaths.

And one of the dead teens' brothers -- wearing a T-shirt that read "Dead for Nothing" -- said the police were causing trouble, not stopping it.

"The minister of the interior (Nicolas Sarkozy) must get rid of his troops. They are nothing but a provocation. If they go, I think the neighborhoods will remain calm," said the brother, Siaca Traore. (Full story)

But many local leaders say more fundamental changes must be made if the government expects to maintain peace in places like Clichy.

Clichy, northeast of Paris, is crowded and impoverished and with a large Muslim population. Local officials claim the suburb is one of the poorest in France.

About 60 percent of the residents of Clichy are immigrants who face discrimination and unemployment that runs to 25 percent -- more than twice the national average.

Those who work in the community say young people are frustrated and angry.

"There are no factories. There are no jobs for anyone. There are no job centers," said Mark Nadaud, a volunteer youth counselor.

"And when you go to look for a job and you say you are from here and they don't want take you."

A member of the city council agrees that something must be done or the situation could spin out of control.

"If nothing changes it will explode," said Didier Ostra. "We hope that the government, after what has happened here and other cities, will realize that the policy must change."

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