May 22, 2022

the open stage at the heart of a new political showdown

This was to become for at least two years “a cultural, festive and united place”, occupied by various associations, pending the realization of the huge Bercy-Charenton real estate project. In reality, the triangle located in the middle of the current railway wasteland, near the Porte de Charenton, in the 12e district of Paris, is preparing to welcome users of crack, this “poor man’s drug” which is wreaking havoc in the north-east of Paris.

Read the report: Article reserved for our subscribers “I need the help of those who still have benevolence”: meeting crack users at Porte de La Villette

The government has indeed decided to transfer as quickly as possible to this SNCF site the camp for drug addicts installed since the end of September at Porte de La Villette, on the edge of 19e arrondissement and Seine-Saint-Denis. “The SNCF has given its agreement to the State”, and “crack users can be oriented” to this new place as soon as a “secure fence” will have been asked, that is to say within a few weeks, announced the Prefecture of police, on the evening of Tuesday, January 25. A trip organized despite the fierce opposition of Anne Hidalgo, the socialist mayor of Paris.

“Amazed”, the town hall hears “to obstruct this baroque decision”, and she obtained that a meeting be organized urgently, on February 1, with the other partners of the plan to fight against crack, the prefecture of Ile-de-France and the regional health agency. More surprisingly, the deputy La République en Marche (LRM) for the constituency, Laetitia Avia, is also asking for the project to be suspended: “We must take care not to multiply points of insecurity in Paris, which is moreover in the district of Bercy, near facilities frequented by young people and families”, she wrote in a statement.

For the thirty years that crack appeared in the Paris region, the public authorities have been confronted with a recurring problem. “Because of a very strong dependence on the product generating the need to consume and re-consume on the spot”, dealers and drug addicts gather in the public space, explains the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). This led to the creation, in the North-East of Paris, of a kind of open-air “crack market”, frequented by a few hundred drug addicts, often in great distress, sometimes violent. When the tension with local residents becomes untenable, the police move the market. Over the years, it has gone from the Porte de La Chapelle to the Place de Stalingrad, then to the Jardins d’Eole, to the Rue Riquet, and, since September 24, to the Square de la Porte-de-La Villette. , close to the ring road.

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