Marseille warns of a spiral of violence by drug gangs with increasingly younger victims

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In the early hours of Saturday to Sunday, a camera captured how armed men forcibly shoved a 27-year-old into the trunk of a car in Marseille. Hours later, his body, charred, was found among the still smoking remains of the vehicle. According to the autopsy, the victim was alive when the fire started. Two more twenty-somethings were killed that same night in a shooting in another neighborhood of France’s second-largest city where, just a few days earlier, a 14-year-old boy had also been shot to death at a drug distribution point, while another teenager of the same age was injured. Although the settling of accounts is not unusual in Marseille, the spiral of violence registered this summer and the extreme youth of some of the victims has caused the alert of the local authorities, who are asking for help from Paris to solve a problem that overwhelms so much their politicians as well as the judicial and police systems.

“A kaláshnikov in Marseille it costs a few 50-euro bills, and that is not acceptable, ”denounced the city’s mayor, Benoît Payan, at the weekend, lamenting the lack of resources from the local justice and police and demanding concrete measures from the Government of Emmanuel Macron.

While preparing a visit by the French president to Marseille next week, in which he could specify more aid both in terms of education and transport and security, according to official sources, several of his ministers assure that the resources are already arriving .

The Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, on Tuesday was “favorable” to the “legitimate and necessary” demands of supplementary judges for Marseille, during a visit to the port city, although he recalled that in the last year it has already been increased judicial staff. For his part, the head of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, assured that “the means to fight this shit that is drugs are already there” in Marseille. And although he acknowledged that “without a doubt there is still more to do,” he considered that the recent upsurge in the setting of accounts is a reflection in a certain way of the “work of the police and justice, which have imprisoned the great drug lords”, which has given rise to a “war of territories”, according to said in the station Franceinfo.

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On Monday, the Marseille prosecutor, Dominique Laurens, revealed that “since June 15 there has been an acceleration, an explosion of cases.” Of the 15 deaths that are already in 2021 in adjustments of accounts in Marseille – almost double that in all of 2020, when nine fatalities were registered – 12 have occurred “in the last two months,” he said.

The cry of alarm is heightened by the youth of several of the victims. “In 2010, the first time a 16-year-old boy was murdered, we believed that it was an isolated case. Today we see that it was the beginning of a cycle of increasingly younger victims, “he told the newspaper. The world a social worker. A judge familiar with the August 19 case that cost the minor his life and injured his friend, declared for his part that both “looked good at 14, not 16 or 18. And the authors knew that they were shooting at children.” .

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From the pages of Release, on a rostrum entitled “Generation without a future”, the city’s deputy mayor, Samia Ghali, also called on Monday for more State attention to this violence that is increasingly targeting young people, “collateral victims of a cartel war that take the entire city hostage and whose The objective is, clearly, to terrorize the inhabitants and the institutions ”.

Faced with this situation, he said, “the State must intervene to secure the neighborhoods and allow the youth and their families to regain all their freedom and the place that is theirs in the neighborhoods and in society.” According to number two in Marseille, this requires an “emergency inter-ministerial committee on security” to draw up a “global” strategy. Because “without security, without education, there is no hope or full freedom, and therefore there is no Republic,” he warned.

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