Marseille Mayor Calls for Army to Be Deployed to Tackle Gang Warfare

Henry Samuel, Telegraph (London), August 30, 2012

François Hollande on Thursday faced calls from the Socialist mayor of a tough Marseille neighbourhood to send in the army to tackle the city’s gang warfare.

The appeal highlighted the escalating drug violence in the Mediterranean port city that claimed its 14th victim in eight months earlier this week.

Kalashnikov-wielding gangsters shot dead Walid Marzouki, 25, a suspected trafficker, at close range on Wednesday night as he drove his black Twingo in the streets of France’s second biggest city.

It was the second gangland killing this month and the latest in a wave of deaths to hit Marseille Nord, one of the city’s toughest drug-infested suburbs, sparking Samia Ghali, the Socialist mayor of two local districts, to call for military intervention.

“Faced with the weapons of war being used by these networks, only the army can intervene,” Miss Ghali, also a senator, told local newspaper La Provence.

She said that the army should set up roadblocks around neighbourhoods to vet inhabitants for weapons and drugs “like in times of war”.

“It no longer makes any difference to send in a police car to stop the dealers. When 10 of them are arrested, 10 others take up the torch. It’s like fighting an anthill.”

Politicians from Left and Right widely rejected Miss Ghali’s call.

Speaking from Madrid, President Hollande said: “The army has no place in controlling the districts of the French Republic”, pointing out that gendarmes, who have a military status, are already present in many areas.

Manuel Valls, the interior minister, said: “It is out of the question for the army to respond to these tragedies and crimes. There is no internal enemy.”

But he promised a “comprehensive, in-depth and particularly strong” response to the shootings.

On Thursday, Marseille’s Right-wing mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin, slammed Miss Ghali’s remarks as “irresponsible”, saying the city needed “police reinforcements, not a call to civil war”.

Police were also sceptical. David-Olivier Reverdy of the Alliance union said: “France is not at war. Each to their own profession. Rather give us the means to fight against underground (drug) trafficking.”

Marseille is renowned as a vibrant Meditteranean melting pot, with a beautiful old port. It will be the European capital of culture in 2013. But the city’s uphill battle against gangland killings and rising petty crime has been the bane of Left and Right-wing leaders.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy changed the city’s police chief three times in 18 months to tackle a series of violent murders, heists and robberies, including seven “home-jackings” of Olympique Marseille footballers in a year.

The second chief to go, Gilles Leclair was fired after declaring: “I cannot resolve all on my own the difficulties of a poor city which has for the past 50 years suffered from immigration and a tradition of gangsters.”

The Socialists cited Marseille as proof that Mr Sarkozy’s crime-fighting record was a “fiasco”, found itself accused by the Right yesterday of “laxism”.

In response, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he would chair crisis talks with senior ministers next Thursday on tackling Marseille’s problems. The district where the killing took place will be one of 15 “priority zones” Mr Valls has pledged to set up around France to root out crime and violence.

Mr Gaudin said creating such a zone would be insufficient to control a situation that was “worsening every day”.

There have been more killings in the past eight months than for the whole of 2011, according to Marseille public prosecutor Jacques Dallest. He warned last year that parts of parts of Marseille were like “the favelas of Rio”.

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  • Puggg

    Does the Army have the same racial/religious composition as the rioters?  If so, then the Army won’t be much help.  

    • Alex

      My girlfriend is a French citizen and she has told me that the French Army is overwhelmingly native, very conservative Frenchmen.

  • fabius

    The French Foreign Legion was last predominantly “white” after WWII, when ex-Wehrmacht joined up en masse. Nowadays, most of the best fighters are from Francophone Africa–many of these Africans are very talented  at “silent kills”, attracting the admiration of our own Special Forces. And the French can no more use those troops in Marseille than we can use our Special Forces in Detroit.

  • Persephone Gray

    “There is no internal enemy.”

    You unutterably excrescent idiot. You deserve everything you get.

  • KenelmDigby

    Of course, the French elitists always claimed that mass third world immigration was ‘necesssary’ for building up ‘economic prosperity’.
    Well perhaps they’ve got a point, as the elitists have closed down so many industries, a little diversity based ‘enrichment’ in the form of a thriving drugs trade goes a long way.

    • IstvanIN

      Necessity is the mother of invention.  The Japanese, with their demographic decline, rather than import assimilable, low IQ savages, have been becoming experts on robotics and automation.  I truly believe they will sort out their problems and end up with a lower population density nation with a stable, prosperous population.  The US, with it’s 19th century economic model of importing illiterate third world labor, will die.

  • IstvanIN

     Sarkozy is not Hungarian.  Once his family “out-married” they ceased to be Hungarian.  They are apparently hateful towards their adopted homeland.  He is a disgrace to France and Hungary.  However their is one group that is proud of him and to whom he is loyal.

    • One of the things that shocked me was that ex-president Valery Giscard d’Estaing was actually born in Germany – NOT France. That shocked me because of the historical animosity between France and Germany. Why would the French vote for a man who was born in Germany?

      Funny how some people we regard as “French” are not born in France, but elsewhere. Consider:

      Albert Camus, the Nobel laureate in literature, was born in Algeria.

      Ivan Bunin, also a Nobel luareate in literature, was born in Russia.

      And of course, the most notorious of “Frenchmen”, Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, Corsica.

      • IstvanIN

         You do not have to be born in France to be of French ethnicity.

  • Is it just me, or is it a good idea to just let them gun each other down as long as they’re doing it to their own?

    • IstvanIN

       Unfortunately, in addition to destroying the infrastructure we built they also end up shooting us as well.  They need to go.

  • Michael C. Scott

    I’m not certain, but I think you need a permit.  The best European country to go to for shooting enthusiasts is the Czech republic.  I could have my rifles back in Japan with the right paperwork, but only if I became a citizen.  That would require my Japanese to get a lot better (Ariadne translating for me wouldn’t count), and I would have to change my name.  The transliteration of Masahiro Escottu wouldn’t bother me very much, but I’d miss pistol-shooting.  Any civilized country that would give me my gun rights back and for my family in perpetuity would have my absolute loyalty.  I’m still hoping for Civil War Two.  With my family safe in Japan and my mother with them, I’d have no worries.

    Tha FAMAS bullpup rifle is available to civilians in France, but with a longer barrel and in semi-auto only.  The caliber is also .222 Remington instead of 5.56mm NATO.  It still takes STANAG magazines.

    My favorite French rifles were the MAS-49 and MAS-49/56.  I used to make the 7.5mm brass for these out of 6.5mm X 55 Swedish Mauser cases.  For the earlier French rifles, M-1886/93 and M-1916, I made the 8mm X 51R brass out of .348″ Winchester.

    You have me a bit depressed now.  Before my arrest by the FBI 12 years ago, I had a line on a 37mm harpoon gun.  It could fire harpoons for hunting seals, solid slugs for polar bears, or shot loads for birds.  I thought it might be an ideal home-defense weapon.  Not even home-invaders want to be harpooned!

  • Not just the Bantu musicians, mind you; but them Frenchmen really had their tongues hanging out for the Bantu stripper Josephine Baker.

  • 1proactive2

    Criminals don’t care about consequences because for them, jails and prisons are an acceptable cost of doing business. Besides, said jails and prisons are not bad places to live, in their belief system.  Here in the U.S. they have everything they need to include cable TV, 3 squares a day, loads of junk food paid for by family and friends, health care including dental and optical, sex, and products from their underground economy such as drugs and cigs. The concept of doing several years in prison is not a foreboding concept to them. They have friends in prisons, and they do not have to change. I work in a state prison, btw.

    Maybe Neutron bombs in selected world crime cities would temporarily take care of the problem. The bombs would kill the inhabitants but leave the buildings.  Consider it a “do over”.  Too much?  How about dropping pallets of all kinds of drugs all around the city, an endless supply of them, so a natural self-culling can take place. Think, Darwin. Saturating the market with a product causes it to lose its value, and junkies would soon die off if they had unlimited drugs at their disposal.

    How about marital law and on-the-spot, vicious and violent responses to street corner standing and general public nuisance? Suspend due process for a few years and you’ll have cleaned up much of the problem.

    At present, nothing conventional works with true criminals and junkie wannabes. To truly clean things up, government will have to get very radical.

    • IstvanIN

       Not a bad idea but will never happen.  Although I am a little leery of stooping to their violent, uncivilized level.  Just sending them away would be best.

  • RisingReich

     “He didn’t like Germans, and said “we always just called them Boches”, but he liked communists a lot less.”

    A choice siding with sanity.  The world sided with the insane.

    Look around at the results.