President Emmanuel Macron has promised a plan to counter drug dealing in the country’s troubled poorer suburbs by July, saying it was “indispensable.’’
The French President on Tuesday promised the suburbs, where many residents are of immigrant origin, “not a politics of difference’’ but “a politics of the same rights, but real rights.’’
That had to start with security, he said, admitting that “it is clear that we have lost the battle with drug dealing in many districts.’’
“Everybody has a part to play against violence and deviance,’’ Macron said, citing also the appeal of Islamist extremism to some young people and “ever-growing racist and anti-Semitic discourse.’’
Macron noted that an extra 1,300 police officers were due to be deployed in sensitive areas under a new neighbourhood policing plan announced earlier this year by Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, who promised a “republican reconquest’’ of the suburbs.
A report that Macron commissioned from former minister Jean-Louis Borloo in April called for a 5.9-billion-dollar investment in the suburbs.
Borloo warned that the decline of public services in poorer areas risked an outbreak of unrest similar to 2005, which saw suburban youths, mainly of immigrant origin, riot for weeks after the deaths of two young men who took refuge in an electricity substation, reportedly while hiding from police.
But the president warned against overly ambitious plans, focusing instead on measures such as making sure that middle-school students could get workplace internships.