A meeting with the mayor, Benoît Payan, a visit to the construction site of the new Beaumettes prison which will see the light of day in 2025, a trip to the police headquarters to meet the officials of the Judicial Police, a meeting with mothers including children were murdered in a settling of scores linked to drug trafficking, another with neighborhood ociations which prevented the installation of a deal point, exchanges with elected officials and, finally, a “big debate” with residents of the northern districts at the Busserine gymnasium during which all the difficulties were overcome…
Under blazing heat and placed under close police surveillance, the first day of the three day tour of Emmanuel Macron in Marseille was dense. It first allowed the Head of State to set out his priorities on the subject of security, almost two years after the launch of the “Marseille en grand” plan . It also allowed him to measure the extent of the work still ahead of him in what he presents as his favorite city and his “laboratory”. “A good part of the things that we launch here are intended to be nationalized”, reminded Emmanuel Macron to the press, referring to the experiments on the school or on the question of housing.
Accompanied by several ministers, such as Gérald Darmanin (Interior), Eric Dupond-Moretti (Justice) or Clément Beaune (Transport), Emmanuel Macron also multiplied the crowds throughout his stages, sometimes orchestrated by deputies from the majority. , and always kind. The few timid cerolades and “Macron resignation” chanted by demonstrators were kept at a distance and quickly evacuated.
The comeback controversy
We don’t redo each other. Emmanuel Macron remained true to himself and did not escape the little phrase triggering a controversy. “You’re not going to make me believe that if he’s really looking for a job in Marseille, and he’s ready to take a job as a waiter, that there is no job as a waiter. I promise you: I’m going around the Old Port tonight with you, I’m sure there are 10 job offers, ”he told a woman whose son is struggling to find work.
Immediately, the left reacted. “Macron caricature Macron”, denounced on Twitter the president of the group La France Insoumise in the National embly, Mathilde Panot. In September 2018, another little phrase – you had to “cross the street” to find work, he told a young horticulturist – cost him dearly and fueled the yellow vest crisis a few weeks later.
For questions related to security, Emmanuel Macron was satisfied with the progress made since the launch of “Marseille en grand” and the results obtained. According to the Elysée, 70 deal points have been removed in two years. “All this is an unprecedented investment by the Nation. I say this because it is unprecedented in the history of Marseille and it is unprecedented when we compare Marseille to the rest of the Republic, ”said Emmanuel Macron to the members of the police present on the Beaumettes site.
Police and magistrates have come as reinforcements and new ones will arrive, new equipment has been acquired and several structuring projects, such as the new police station or the new Beaumettes prison, will see the light of day in the coming years.
But there is still a long way to go to appease Marseille, where the sad count of homicides linked to drug trafficking is not slowing down. Since the beginning of the year, 23 people have died, a rate comparable to that of 2022.
“The coming months are going to be tough. You have to be clear. We’re not going to stop the drug rings overnight. On the other hand, we are not going to let go of the matter, ”said Emmanuel Macron to the inhabitants of the Campanules district. He also promised them additional means to support the victims and better fight against trafficking. “I promise you that on the northern districts you will see the difference,” he told them.
Facing the northern districts
A little later, at the Busserine gymnasium, faced with the anger of the inhabitants representing ociations from the northern districts of Marseille, the tone became serious and the atmosphere sometimes heavy. The president came up against the difficulties of local residents, sometimes their despair. The people speaking, often women, spoke of the permanent insecurity, their impossible life, their fears, a life that “resembles a Netflix series” or the “despair that plagues Marseille”. “We can no longer count the dead. We can’t live like this anymore,” said one of them.
The day before this visit, two teenagers were mowed down by a Kalashnikov discharge. Emmanuel Macron was challenged, sometimes in a virulent way. “You came to see us two years ago, nothing has changed since,” says another woman. The meeting turns into a series of recriminations and complaints from residents who expect everything from the President of the Republic. In addition to issues related to insecurity, all topics, from housing to transport, including health, school, employment or discrimination were discussed, not to mention Parcoursup… Emmanuel Macron is far from finished with Marseilles.