“I’ll show you the deal point, the meeting places, the shiteux canteen…”. Appointment is given, this Tuesday, January 25, 2022, in front of the town hall of the district of Pontanézen, west of Brest. A man, in his thirties, approaches without stopping. “Follow me,” he said. With a brisk step, he joins a small quiet garden. “I don’t want to be spotted with a journalist.” It’s 1 p.m. Flat calm. “This is the time when the deal point gets under way. We will go to my place, we will have to be careful, warns our opener. I will walk thirty meters ahead, you will follow me. Keep your bicycle helmet in your hand, it will give you the look of a sportsman or a delivery man”.
“There, that’s the deal point”
The tone is set. Let’s go for the visit of the hottest urban complex of the moment. “There, it is the point of deal. There are not many people today. Perhaps pressure from the prefect… Look, next door you have the business apartments, opposite, a caravan, a tent and chairs. In the neighborhood, it is called the shiteux canteen. She arrived two months ago and helps feed those who work here. Nobody understood how something like this could happen on the public highway, ”says the resident, without taking any gloves.
Women come home from shopping. A young person gets into a vehicle. We arrive at the foot of a tower. A glance supported in the hall to make sure that the place is free and we rush. In his mailbox, our guide finds the good wishes of the mayor of the district which he opens in the elevator. He goes down one floor below his HLM housing. A ruse, just to confuse the tracks and not indicate its exit point to possible “choufs” on the lookout. The inhabitant opens his door and closes it twice. “Look at this splendid view of the neighborhood! “, he quips, the window wide open. “From here, I miss nothing of the show. The movements of vehicles, the confusion, the rodeos, the customers who pass on foot, by car, on an electric scooter. The main deal point is concentrated not far from the tram tracks. The line has been interrupted since the ambush on Saturday evening. Less good for business…”
“Look at the basketball court”, engages the watchtower of “Ponta”. “The municipality thought it was doing well but it became the main recruitment point for the youngest”. Behind the car, in the corner, eyes spotted our ballet of overly curious people. “Don’t hang around, they don’t know who you are” enjoins the guide more feverishly.
Is the neighborhood that much under pressure? “Me, I’ve felt it here for ten years. The morning of my arrival, I found the neighborhood pretty good. It’s always quiet between 8:30 am and 10 am. A few hours later, I experienced my first car fire,” recalls our 30-year-old. Not tender as to the action of the municipality. More lenient vis-à-vis the prefect Philippe Mahé who announced additional police resources.
“We are hoping for a long-term effort, but there is work to be done given the sums that the traffic generates, he believes. You have to see the money in some families and the trips that some pay for themselves. And the paraphernalia they have on them or in their cars… Pistols, automatic weapons, shotguns… Explosions ring out in the night… It’s fortunate that they only use their firecrackers against the firefighters and the police! “.
“Much more than thirty to tamper with! »
How many are there to traffic? “The prefect evokes about thirty individuals. But it was only those who were on duty that night,” he said. After 7 p.m., it is best to avoid the area around the deal point, according to our interlocutor. “I try to go around so as not to meet bad people. You can chat with the big brothers, ask them if business is good and have a little laugh. But it is strictly impossible with the youngest who, as the day progresses, have their nostrils full. At first, I felt sorry for the little ones. But not anymore. Some get angry for a yes or a no. I no longer try to argue with them. It makes me think of the misadventure of the deputy mayor, Yohann Nédélec, threatened with death last week in Ponta. By coming to introduce themselves to them, it was a foregone conclusion. What did he expect? »
“Not rich enough to leave”
Why stay in this area? “I’m saving to leave. Everything is complicated when you live in “Ponta”. For your steps, you can say “Europe Quarter” in vain, but that doesn’t create illusions for very long. Here, I feel like a prisoner who has not committed any crime. My crime is not being rich enough to leave this place”.