Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sarkozy tested by violence

French Interior Minister and likely presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a major test after a hard-core soccer fan was shot and killed by a black policeman. The fans had first directed their anger for losing the soccer match to a fan of the visiting Israeli team, but then attacked the policeman. During the attacks the crowd shouted racist and anti-semitic slurs. This is terrible news, and like all bad news, ends up affecting the political arena. Sarkozy needs to reassert his tough image without overreacting, but he will look ineffectual if nothing is done. He has already pushed through legislation to more easily break up racist fan groups and prevent certain individuals from coming to soccer games. If this causes more of a frenzy in France, it could work against Socialist candidate Segolene Royal, who is not seen as tough on security as Sarkozy.

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