“From 11:15 p.m., around thirty individuals carried out a coordinated action of urban violence, with the clear desire to attract the police into an ambush: 24 vehicles were set on fire, three vehicles were overturned to slow down the progress of the police, a bus shelter was destroyed”, lamented in a press release the prefect of Orne.

The facts lasted until 2:00 a.m. in the Perseigne district, Alençon public prosecutor Laetitia Mirande told AFP.

“It hurts the heart,” told an AFP photographer a retiree from the neighborhood whose only car was burned. “My husband only has 600 euros in retirement, I 1,100 but with 500 euros in rent, all that light … It’s not possible” to buy a vehicle, explained the resident of this city where the rate unemployment reached 21%.

The Unsa-Police union spoke in a press release of “a real urban guerrilla scene”. “Local officials faced about 50 rioters armed with iron bars,” he said.

The Alliance 61 police union reports “sixty mortars fired at the police”.

According to the prefecture, twenty police officers from Orne, nine from Sarthe and eleven gendarmes from Orne “were mobilized to secure the action of the firefighters”. Twenty firefighters and three pump engines were hired to put out the fires, added the same source.

“A presence of the security forces will be maintained at a high level in the coming days”, assures the prefecture.

– “Operations punches” –

On the night of October 26 to 27, 2021, similar events occurred in this working-class district of Alençon: thirteen vehicles were set on fire and the police were also the target of fireworks mortar fire.

“What we experienced last night was the direct consequence of the work the police are doing in the neighborhood (…). The police (there) are leading a fierce fight against drug trafficking”, added Sébastien Jallet, the prefect of Orne, on BFMTV.

“For several months we have been carrying out punching operations (…) against the networks. A fortnight ago, we again dismantled (…) a clandestine laboratory (…) Last week, we arrested two dealers at the bottom of a building in the Perseigne district and yesterday afternoon, again, two young people were arrested by the police and we can think that there is a fairly direct link between this police action ( …) against drugs in Perseigne and what we saw last night in the neighborhood,” said Mr. Jallet.

Questioned by AFP on this point, the prosecution did not respond.

Alliance denounces a “serious lack of manpower” and asks, like Unsa, for reinforcements.

The mayor of Alençon Joaquim Pueyo, interviewed by AFP, also deplores that “there are not enough police officers at night” despite the additional posts, four according to the prefect, which were created in Alençon at the following the events of October 2021.

“We need to have police and gendarmes who are numerous in the department and they will be more and more in the future”, promised the prefect.

“Each time, it starts again. Are the sanctions sufficient?” Asks the mayor, “withdrawn from the PS” in particular on security issues.

On October 28, 2021 Marine Le Pen, then RN candidate in the presidential election, had made the trip to Alençon to denounce a “laxity” according to her of policies in the face of urban violence.