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Call for 'national pact' to end Marseille drug wars

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Call for 'national pact' to end Marseille drug wars
A 'national pact' to end drug trafficking and subsequent violence. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP
12:26 CEST+02:00
France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls has called for politicians of all sides to unite in a ‘national pact’ to end drug trafficking and violence after Marseille was hit by another gangland killing when the son of Marseille’s football chief was gunned down on Thursday.

The bloodshed in Marseille continued this week with authorities seemingly powerless to stop it.

The latest killing – the fifteenth to occur in the Mediterranean city so far this year – dominated the front pages of the French press on Friday due mainly to the identity of the latest victim.

Adrien Anigo, the son of Olympique de Marseille’s sporting director José Anigo was shot at close range as he drove his Renault Twingo through a northern suburb of the city.

Once again authorities, who have not always seen eye to eye on how to best deal with Marseille’s rampant gun crime, have vowed to fight the violence.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Interior Minister Manuel Valls called the city’s mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin, an opposition senator with the UMP party. The pair are regularly involved in public wars of words.

“I called Gaudin because we need to come together against this crime that is a blight on the daily lives of the people of Marseille.

“Marseille does not need divisions, but the good will of all,” Valls said.

“All the elected representatives need to come up with a national pact. I have asked the regional authorities and police chiefs to get the politicians together to lay out this common task," Valls told I-Tele.

Six months before the city’s municipal elections Gaudin, for his part,  suggested he was ready to “unite efforts” with the Socialist government.

Roundtable talks on security, which will gather together police and politicians, are set to begin as early as Saturday morning and will look at everything from education, health, employment and housing.  

In an interview with The Local last month sociologist and expert in crime Veronique Le Goaziou criticised a plan to send reinforcements of riot police to the city.

Instead, she said, Marseille would benefit from more “bobbies on the beat” or community focussed law and order officers.

The violence continues to blight the image of Marseille as it continues its year-long celebrations as European Capital of Culture.

However the city’s tourism chief was at pains to stress that the city is safe for visitors.

“Marseille has its issues like every other big city, but tourists have nothing to fear," Maxim Tissot told The Local.

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