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Mitterrand Blames U.S. Riots on Conservative Policies

May 1, 1992

PARIS (AP) _ President Francois Mitterrand on Friday called the deadly riots in Los Angeles the result of President Bush’s conservative social policies.

The riots were triggered by ″a scandalous judicial decision,″ Mitterrand said. A jury on Wednesday found four white policemen innocent of beating black motorist Rodney King, an incident captured on videotape and shown to television viewers around the world.

″But this is above all a racial conflict, and a racial conflict is always wed to poor social programs,″ Mitterrand said.

″George Bush is a generous man, who embodies an extremely conservative political ideology, and American society is conservative and economically capitalist,″ Mitterrand said.

″Here are some of results.″

Mitterrand, a Socialist, spoke in an interview on Europe-1 radio to mark the May Day labor holiday.

France has experienced regular outbreaks of racial violence in recent years, usually stone-throwing confrontations between poor black and Arab youths against police in the grim suburbs ringing major cities.

The most dramatic incident came in 1990, when youths rioted in the Lyon suburb of Vaux-en-Velun for a week after a teen-ager was killed in a traffic accident involving a police car. They called their actions the intefadeh, after the Palestinian uprising in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

″There’s no comparison between what passes here and elsewhere,″ Mitterrand said. ″France has the highest level of social protection in the world.″

Mitterrand admitted that poverty and social injustice exist in France, where the number of unemployed is nearing a record level of 3 million.

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