French No-Go Zone Residents Organise to Force Govt to Act Against Violent ‘Youths’

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Residents in so-called “vulnerable” neighbourhoods in French cities are organising to put pressure on the government to act against urban violence and disruption from local “youths”.

Collectives of local residents have been formed in several cities including Marseilles, where a group took the government to the administrative court over their inaction in dealing with local delinquents and won a €10,000 settlement as a result.

Centre-Right Les Républicains Senator Pierre Charon studied the growing phenomenon over the summer months, saying: “Perhaps we will see an American-style drift. People are willing to monetize the criminal inefficiency of the state. Everything is reimbursed and finally measured,” according to Le Figaro.

In the city of Lyon, meanwhile, the Facebook group Presqu’île en colère was set up just over a year ago and boasts 3,800 members who describe themselves as  “angry inhabitants of the peninsula” and post testimonials of delinquency in order to present them to local authorities.

A member of the La Guillotière en colère, another collective based in Lyon, said that the groups have to identify themselves as being left-wing, as “otherwise we are mistaken for fascists and reactionaries.”

While some residents gain compensation from the state over the lack of effective moves to deal with growing lawlessness, prefect Frédéric Péchenard said the collectives’ victories show an image of a state in “decay”.

Just weeks ago, residents of another no-go zone were told by police that they too should either deal with matters themselves or consider packing up and moving elsewhere.

A police officer is said to have referenced the  “Corsican method” of handling disputes, a reference to vigilante justice on Napoleon Bonaparte’s home island.

In July, meanwhile, residents of the La cité Charles-Schmidt apartment complex in Saint-Ouen were obliged to matters into their own hands in a different way.

A group of residents negotiated a deal with local drug dealers to keep the noise down at night and keep drug dealing away from residences in exchange for the residents not reporting their actions to police.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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