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CRIME

Mum held over French toddler’s death

A woman arrested in France on Friday was being detained as part of a murder investigation into the death of a toddler identified as her daughter, prosecutors said.

The unidentified woman was apprehended in the eastern Paris suburb of Saint-Mande after a public appeal for her whereabouts following the November 20th discovery of the body of the girl on a Normandy beach.

The suspect was refusing to talk to police, but DNA tests showed her parental link to the toddler, regional assistant prosecutor Nathalie Bagny told AFP.

Surveillance video images had shown the woman and the child taking a train from Paris to the Normandy coastal town of Berck-sur-Mer on November 19, then the woman returning alone the next day, some hours after the girl’s body was discovered.

Dozens of people were to hold a “white” march on Saturday in homage of the dead girl, believed to be around one year old and whose identity has not been made public, according to local officials.

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CRIME

Paris police dismantle crack users’ camp

Paris police have dismantled a camp that is home to over 100 crack users, the latest move in a campaign that has repeatedly displaced the addicts around the capital.

Paris police dismantle crack users' camp

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter as the evacuation got under way that, this time, “1,000 officers will be deployed to prevent the camp from reforming somewhere else”.

An AFP journalist saw large numbers of police surround the rubbish-strewn camp from 7:00 am (0500 GMT) in Square Forceval in northeast Paris, with police chief Laurent Nunez on the scene.

Over the past two years, successive evacuations have moved crack users from the Stalingrad square on the city’s Saint-Martin canal, first to a nearby park, and then to their current site alongside the French capital’s ring road.

READ ALSO How Paris plans to tackle its crack-cocaine problem – by moving addicts elsewhere

Tackling the city’s crack problem — visible on the streets for the past three decades — has proved difficult due to the addictiveness of the drug, a cocaine derivative that sells for as little as 10 euros ($9.90) per dose.

Darmanin, a law-and-order hardliner, has given newly-installed Paris police chief Nunez a single year to wipe out crack in the capital.

The interior ministry said that inhabitants of the camp wanted by police would be arrested, while foreigners without papers would be detained awaiting deportation.

“Other occupants will be directed towards accommodation structures with medical and social assistance, or to medical facilities,” the ministry added.

Aid groups say that between 300 and 400 people spend time in the camp during the day and around 150 at night, with up to 40 percent of them women.

Dealers sold crack “rocks” openly among the groups of users.

As at other sites where the addicts have gathered, local residents have complained of assaults, thefts and other disruption since their arrival.

Around 500 people demonstrated last month to mark the camp being in place for a year and demand its removal.

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