Thursday, April 15

New riots on the periphery of Paris, Lyon and other French cities

Correspondent in Paris



New attacks of violent and incendiary savagery in the periphery of Paris, Lyon and Marseille, among other large and medium-sized cities, which cannot always be ‘pacified’ with the dispatch of dozens and hundreds of police, gendarmes and anti-riot police.

In Beauvais (Oise), north of Paris, a motorized police patrol was attacked with “artificial” mortar rounds last week, following the burning of cars and establishments. The forces of order took twelve hours to restore a precarious order.

In Reims (Marne) a photographer was beaten up in a neighborhood on the urban periphery, for trying to photograph the state of degradation of several neighborhoods. The police have failed to arrest any of the gangs of adolescent and young aggressors.

In the department of the Seine-Saint-Denis, the ‘banlieue’ of Paris, violent clashes between gangs of teenagers claimed several deaths last February. The specialists of the Ministry of the Interior estimate that there are 46 gangs of adolescents on the outskirts of Paris that are disputing their various ‘territories’, with recurrent outbreaks of violence, with blood and fire.

On the periphery of Lyon, third city in France, in the towns and neighborhoods of La Duchères, Rilleux-la-Pape, Bron, violence, fires, destruction of vehicles and property entrances, have followed one another uninterruptedly since last Friday. Faced with the apparent impotence of the local forces of order, Gérarld Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, ordered the dispatch of 200 gendarmes on Saturday afternoon, to provide “immediate support” to the local police.

In Lyon and its periphery, all local authorities must carry a police protection escort, victims of the permanent harassment, as they try to move beyond the central and affluent neighborhoods.

MarsellaFrance’s second largest city, years ago it became one of the most violent and insecure cities in Europe. And suburban conflicts drag on indefinitely, with new ‘modalities’: recurrent outbreaks of violence by the ‘fans’ of the local soccer club and their managers.

Violence aggravated by the pandemic

Violence grew in Marseille during the first ten months of the pandemic, and has continued to grow intermittently for the last three months. A collective of victims of suburban violence organized last week a ‘white march’ of protest against criminality, demanding justice and security. With very modest results. The Ministry of the Interior has sent new police reinforcements to the great Mediterranean port. But the violence of the fans of the local football club has turned into gangrene of a new kind.

Historian Véronique Blanchard comments on the ongoing process in this way: “Suburban violence has always existed in the ‘banlieue’, the periphery of Paris. Surprising, however, the current spread, perhaps aggravated by the pandemic, the coronavirus and its health and social consequences.

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