The police revelations about violent incidents that took place at the gates of the Stade de France, last Saturday, when the real Madrid won their 14th Champions, they are illuminating the gangrenous minefield that has grown in the ‘banlieue’, the northern outskirts of Paris.
For years, it has been known that the Seine-Saint-Denis, department 93, in whose capital the Stade de France is located, was one of the most multicultural and dangerous regions of France. Saturday’s incidents have aggravated the underlying crisis. The testimonies of the policemen and gendarmes who had to resort to tear gas, to restore a very precarious order, last Saturday, contradict the official versions.
An official spokesman for the National Union of Police Commissioners comments on the crisis in this way: “First-hand testimonies confirm an aggravation of all the problems.
Among the hundreds of arrests, the majority are characters who are not always listed as perpetrators of common crimes, robberies, violence and degradation. The great show presented to great fanfare was a magnificent opportunity for gang members and gangs who have been protagonists of systematic vandalism for years.
The Ministry of the Interior had mobilized 6,800 police and gendarmes, a service of relatively classic order, like the one that has covered other similar events, which was soon overwhelmed by not always ethnic gangs of young people of very diverse ethnic, religious, cultural origin, sowing panic among Spanish and English fans. “Honestly, I had never seen anything like it, in twenty years of profession, specializing in maintaining order,” says Ludovico Bonnet, a police officer.
Many English fans were arrested. It was soon discovered that, in truth, the detainees had tried to defend themselves, by force, against those who tried to rob them, rob them. Among the Spanish fans present at the Stade de France, perhaps the majority was the desire to escape a trap that was feared dramatic or disastrous: Saturday night, it was a bad time to try to ask for help, help or file complaints with consular authorities.
The Government of Emmanuel Macron, through its Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, continues to accuse the incidents of “mismanagement” of ticket sales/distribution. Police unions and specialists, on the contrary, insist on the aggravation of a serious and deep crisis.
Nicholas Hourcade, sociologist, a specialist in the social periphery of soccer, fears a crisis with many fringes: «The prefecture, on behalf of the State, does not hide that its first interest is ‘maintaining order’, among the crowds. This is a very partial vision of the problem, which does not establish the difference between violent and racist individuals, pure and simple vandalism, and fans who behave correctly and positively. Confused, among the crowd, one and the other, the policemen and gendarmes are forced to act indiscriminately, taking fatal risks. The forces of order feel threatened by the vandals, and, at the same time, they must bear the accusations of racism and indiscriminate violence».
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism