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European Journal

France: Wild West in Marseilles

The drugs trade is flourishing in the northern part of Marseille and gang warfare is raging. Twenty people have already been killed in gang-related violence this year.

The northern part of Marseille is home to the poorest of the poor. Half of the area's  young people are unemployed, a fact that plays into the hands of arms and drug dealers. For years the projects have been controlled by gangs who are waging a brutal conflict with each other. So far politicians have proved ineffective in restoring order. Police and other officials are giving the area a wide berth. Residents are largely left to cope on their own in the troubled housing projects. Now the mayor is calling for the army to be sent in.