The drugs trade is flourishing in the northern part of Marseilles and gang warfare is raging. Twenty people have already been killed in gang-related violence this year. Police and other officials are giving the area a wide berth. Residents are largely left to cope on their own in troubled neighborhoods.
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 weapons 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 proven ineffective when it comes to restoring order. Now the mayor is calling for the army to be sent in.