For three nights violence has flared up between youths and police in the northern suburbs of Paris. The violence has been caused by the growing tensions in the strict lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus. An “explosive cocktail” of poverty, harsh police tactics, unemployment, the health crisis has worsening has led to the violence.
The neighbourhood has seen much violence in recent years. The area has a high African and North African population. Young black men are more likely to be stopped and searched by police, resulting a culture of animosity and distrust.
“When there are people out in the streets, police abuses are less likely to go unnoticed,” a local social worker explains. “But with residents locked up at home, the police have become more violent and arbitrary.”
He adds: “Of course, most officers do their work conscientiously. But it only takes a few bad apples eager to settle scores for things to get out of hand very fast.”
The poorer suburbs of Paris have been hit particularly hard by Covid-19. As health care provision is poorer in these areas. Residents are angry as it is workers from these working class areas who have kept the city functioning. Many wealthy Parisians have fled the city, or are working from home.
“Nurses, cashiers, caregivers, street cleaners, security agents, delivery men… Basically all the people who prop up the country today, all those who hold the front line and put themselves in danger, they come from the working-class districts, from [Seine-Saint-Denis]!” said Stéphane Peu, a local communist lawmaker, in an interview with Le Monde.
Read More: France 24