The goal is ambitious. For more than two years, crack users have been moved on several occasions due to the anger of local residents. For a long time, they wandered Place Stalingrad. Then, they were moved by the Paris police headquarters to a park, not far away, before being directed near the ring road, Square Forceval (XIXth arrondissement). A more remote place, between Seine-Saint-Denis and Paris. A wall, quickly baptized the “wall of shame”, was even erected there.

Each time, the same scenario: complaint from local residents, displacement of crack users, complaint from local residents, new displacement… The detoxification of these users is extremely difficult given the highly addictive nature of this drug, a smokable derivative of cocaine , baptized “poor man’s drug” because of its cost (10 euros per dose).

“On my instruction, the prefect of police is proceeding with the final dismantling of the crack camp in Square Forceval. 1,000 police officers will be deployed so that this camp does not reconstitute itself elsewhere”, tweeted the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin when the security forces entered the camp, as noted by an AFP journalist.

Shortly before 7 a.m., a large police force deployed around the camp, in the presence of the new Paris police chief, Laurent Nunez, and the prefect of the Ile-de-France region, Marc Guillaume.

“In total, nearly 1,000 police officers will be mobilized over 24 hours, both to carry out the operation, but also the following days to secure the various strategic sectors and thus avoid the reconstitution of another fixation point”, a we explained to the Ministry of the Interior.

Gérald Darmanin “gave instructions that no camp of this type should be reconstituted elsewhere”, it was added.

The ministry stressed that this operation was “unprecedented since the phenomenon of crack has affected the north-east of Paris for several decades”.

Place Beauvau clarified that “the wanted persons will be arrested, as will foreigners in an irregular situation who will be placed in CRA (Administrative Retention Center, editor’s note) with a view to their expulsion”. “The other occupants will be directed to accommodation facilities with medico-social support or to care units”.

– “one year” to eradicate it –

The problem of crack appears in the roadmap entrusted by Gérald Darmanin to the new prefect of police. Laurent Nuñez has “one year” to eradicate it. On September 25, he had promised that the site would close.

A year earlier, the Paris police headquarters had decided to move to this site without any shelter crack users who have been concentrated in the north-east of Paris for thirty years.

Their arrival seriously disrupted public security in the surrounding neighborhoods, provoking demonstrations and legal action to demand the evacuation of the camp.

According to associations, between 300 and 400 people during the day and 150 at night, including 35 to 40% women, were present in this square. The dealers there sold the pebbles (dose of crack) in the middle of the consumers.

Located on the borders of the 19th arrondissement of Paris, the square is bordered by the ring road, a screened event area and a large roundabout leading to the popular district of Quatre-Chemins, straddling the communes of Pantin and Aubervilliers in Seine- St Denis.

For a year, the inhabitants of this district and that of La Villette in Paris have constantly complained about attacks, thefts and other nuisances caused by the installation of crack users.

On September 24, the anniversary of their displacement, 500 demonstrators marched through the streets of Pantin and Aubervilliers to denounce a “laisser-faire” from the authorities and demand the evacuation of the camp.