|Symbols of the French state, including policemen, firemen and postmen, are under intensified attack from disaffected youths as the country faces the worst race relations crisis in its history.
Hardly a night passes without gangs ? many of them from immigrant families ? attacking police cars, buses and emergency rescue teams.
Yesterday, the weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur published a confidential report drawn up by a public service trade union, the CGT, containing scores of eye-witness accounts of brutal attacks on public servants who work in the worst suburbs, or ?banlieues?, from gas board workers to staff from the electricity company.
Its publication follows the revelation that attacks on police have soared this year, with some 14 a day, and a growing number of incidents in which officers have been lured into ambushes.
This has prompted a warning that the day France witnesses the lynching of a policeman is not far off.
The CGT report painted a graphic picture of violence: blocks of cement dropped on paramedic crews; washing machines pushed off balconies on to fire engines; electricity company agents too scared to cut off customers who have not paid bills, after being attacked with knives, guns and fists.
France obviously does not want to stand up and fight for anything. They have do first call these people out for what they are, not "youths". Freedom starts with reconizing and admitting harsh realities and confronting them.