Meanwhile, President Jacques Chirac acknowledged that France must confront the inequalities and discrimination that fuelled the unrest, amid violence that continued on its 15th night, Thursday-Friday, under state-of-emergency measures and heavy policing

More vehicles were set alight in suburban areas. By 4am (0300 GMT) on Friday seven policemen had been injured, four of them in the eastern city of Lyon, 395 vehicles burned and 168 people detained for questioning across France, compared to 394 torched vehicles and 169 arrests the night before, police said.
  
Arson was suspected in a fire that destroyed a village hall south of the French capital overnight, but no one was hurt, police and firefighters said.
  
Appearing publicly for the second time since rioting began, Chirac said: "The re-establishment of order is for me an absolute priority ... which has not yet been achieved."
  
"When the time comes and order has been established, it will be necessary to draw all the consequences from this crisis and do it with much courage and lucidity," the president told journalists.
  
Chirac, who has been criticised for taking a back seat, said it was time for "reflection, which I shall devote to explaining to my fellow citizens what my feelings are on this crisis and the means to remedy it".
  
"Whatever our origins, we are all children of the republic. We can all claim the same rights but must, of course, all accept the same duties," he said.
  
Calm gradually returned to French cities following introduction of a state of emergency and curfew on Tuesday in 30 towns and cities, where unaccompanied children under 16 were ordered to stay at home as the government struggled to contain the car-burnings, arson attacks and rioting mostly by young Arab and black residents of poor out-of-town estates.
  
The curfew was still in effect in five regions on Friday. 

Suspension
  
Meanwhile, eight police officers were suspended pending results of an investigation into an alleged assault on a young man in a Paris suburb, the interior ministry said.
  
Commenting on the suspension, an interior ministry spokesman said there was evidence "two officers inflicted blows on the man in an illegal manner and that six others witnessed the incident".
  
The assault on Monday was filmed by a news crew from state-owned France 2 television channel, who have handed their footage to investigators, a police official said. France 2 broadcast the pictures late on Thursday. 

Defiant minister
  

Sarkozy's reference to youth as 
rabble triggered protests

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said he would not permit any police excesses.
  
Controversy also continued to surround a call by the tough-talking Sarkozy for foreigners convicted of acts of violence during the troubles to be deported - a measure denounced by left-wing parties and campaigning groups as a breach of human rights.
  
Sarkozy said on television on Thursday he had no regrets about his inflammatory references to young troublemakers as "rabble," a remark that has caused a wave of protest and controversy.

"When I say they are rabble, that's what they call themselves," the minister stressed.

"Let's stop calling them youngsters. If you call hoodlums youngsters you risk making generalisations about young people." 

Athens sympathisers

Meanwhile in Athens, a group of 40 anarchists have smashed windows at the French Institute building in the capital on Friday, in the second apparent attack on a French target in Greece in sympathy with rioters in France.

On Friday, the youths, wearing motorbike helmets and balaclavas and carrying red and black flags, ran into the institute's courtyard in central Athens and smashed 30 windows with stones and bolts, said institute director Alain Fohr.

"We believe that this attack is linked to the troubles in the French suburbs"

Alain Fohr,
Director, French Institute

They also spattered the walls with red and black paint and wrote slogans on the wall including "those who sow armies harvest civil war, in Paris, Athens everywhere", Fohr said.

The same slogan was written on leaflets strewn around the courtyard.

"We believe that this attack is linked to the troubles in the French suburbs," Fohr said, adding that nobody was injured during the brief attack.

A similar attack was made on the French Institute in the northern city of Salonika on Thursday night, police said.