Settle crack junkies in a small public garden stuck on the edge of the ring road, on the edge of Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis? It is “a solution that can only be temporary, that can only last a few hours or a few days”, had certified the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, on September 28, 2021, before the deputies. Four months after the transfer to Porte de la Villette (19e arrondissement) of the 100 or 200 users of this “poor man’s drug” who previously wandered rue Riquet, yet nothing has changed, and the residents can’t take it anymore.
They forcefully reaffirmed it, Monday evening January 24, during a demonstration which brought together a hundred of them in front of the “wall of shame”, the one erected hastily, in September, to prevent drug addicts from going too easily from Paris to Pantin. For all the participants, only one hope: that the public authorities finally act to unblock the situation. “We too are counting the days, the hours”, explained Stéphanie Benoist, of the collective 93 Anti-crack. “There is immense anger that this has been going on for four months”, or one hundred and twenty-two days, recalled another official, the communist militant Rafael Perez. Adding: “Things like this would never have happened in the upscale neighborhoods. »
In four months, the provisional settled in the long term. Despite the cold, 100 to 150 crack users still frequent the pelé square, buy this very addictive and cheap drug there, and smoke it on the spot. People in great distress, and sometimes aggressive. Many of them benefit from reception facilities for the homeless, but a few sleep on site. All under the discreet surveillance of a few police vans.
“We removed the shelters, we left the people”
In recent weeks, the Paris City Hall having ceased its complete cleaning operations, wooden and sheet metal barracks have appeared. Monday morning, they were destroyed by backhoes, on the orders of the Prefecture of Police. The general physiognomy of the site had “degraded”, “with a densification of the facilities” become “fixation points for people under the influence or craving crack”, justifies the prefect in his decree of January 19. “Violence is observed on the site or in its surroundings, in particular between occupants under the influence or in lack of crack”, he also notes.
“We removed the shelters, we left the people, notes for his part Rafael Perez. This borders on barbarism, on ignominy! » In addition, “If these people are cold now, they will have to go squat in the neighborhood”, he adds. François Dagnaud, the mayor (Socialist Party) of the district, is less negative. “These barracks hid various trafficking and prostitution, he notes. Anything that helps to thwart crack trafficking and violence against women is good to take. But this is, of course, very short of what is necessary. »
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