PARIS (AFP) - Arson attacks flared overnight around Paris and police made more than 30 arrests as the worst violence the capital has seen in decades dragged on into its ninth straight night.
Two textile warehouses and a car showroom were set on fire to the northeast of the city, while some 180 vehicles were torched in the Paris region.
A fire-bomb was also thrown against the wall of a synagogue in the northern suburb of Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, police said.
At least 30 people were arrested, including some minors found to be carrying material to make incendiary bombs.
Similar scenes were also reported in the northern city of Lille, the western city of Rennes and in Toulouse, in the southwest.
The gangs of youths from low-income, high-immigration neighbourhoods blamed for the violence largely ditched their earlier tactics of pelting police with stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails, preferring instead to run away after setting the fires.
The new round rampages came just hours after Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin held a crisis meeting with Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on the riots, which are the worst since a 1968 student revolt.
Villepin also met a group of suburban youths for two and a half hours in his office to discuss the situation and hear their grievances.
Much of the fury in the streets, though, has been aimed at Sarkozy and his hardline policies aimed at cleaning up the crime-ridden suburbs with, as he put it, "a power-hose."
Shots have been fired at riot police, without causing injury, and at least three people -- including a handicapped woman -- have been badly burnt by Molotov cocktails.
The enduring troubles have dealt Sarkozy's ambition of running in 2007 presidential elections a heavy blow. Many of the youths in the disaffected suburbs have called for his resignation over his description of them as "rabble" -- a demand echoed Friday by the opposition Communist and Greens parties.
The riots were sparked October 27, when two teenagers were electrocuted in a tough, low-income suburb north of Paris as they hid in an electrical sub-station to flee a police identity check.
Since then, they have spread every night. On Thursday, copycat violence occurred in Marseille, Dijon and in Normandy.
Overwhelmed police have found themselves powerless to stop the conflagration, which has seen a total of over 1,000 vehicles torched and more than 200 people arrested.
Those responsible are groups of young Muslim men, the sons of families from France's former Arab and African colonial territories, who have said in interviews that they are protesting economic misery, racial discrimination and provocative policing.
The leader of one police union, Bruno Beschizza, has described the riots as "urban terrorism", but Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe of the opposition Socialist Party warned against hastily lumping together "one religion, Islam, and a few extremists" in apportioning blame.