Fresh protests against police violence rooted in decades of harassment, inequality

Last week, a policeman shot and killed Nahel M., a 17-year-old resident of the Paris suburb of Nanterre, sparking riots across France — a departure from the 20 years ago when he lived in Similar protests by young people in housing projects echo the same pattern. . Billions of euros in investment in the years since have done little to quell anger over police harassment and poor living conditions in French housing projects.

concentrated in the suburbs (suburbs) at suburbs of major french cities people housing project is most young population 40% are under the age of 25 age often from immigration background, those who face the never-ending Fight for acceptance in French society.

The truth is shocking. Youth from economically disadvantaged areas are “particularly frequent Target of police discrimination, stop and search, ‘even if there’s no sign or sign’ evidence of wrongdoing“, Human Rights Watch found.

they are Not too possible Leaving school at 18 secondary education Bachelor’s degree: Youth living in priority area (QPV), for urban renewal, there is a 54% Compared to a 77% success rate for people living elsewhere, According to 2013 study.

they are twice as likely are unemployed and unlikely to be accepted into a university course, apprenticeship or job training programs.

The stigma was felt early on. “Young people who work with us have a tendency arrive Underestimate yourself. We found that people had a serious lack of confidence in their academic ability and personal resources. said Mona Amirouche, general manager of Banlieues School, an organization that supports students, teachers and parents living in public housing programs.

This is partly due to the internalization of “stereotypes and prejudices related to their society”. Background”, Amirush explain. It’s also because their situation seems to be stacked against them even as teenagers. “They’re in a stage of physical development and they’re trying to find their way with the resources they have.” she explain.

“All the Problems of Contemporary France”

Usually, French housing projects have Neighborhoods built during the post-war boom of the 1950s and 1960soften constructed using substandard materials in the area There is a lack of infrastructure such as shops, businesses and transportation. “This often results in residents being cut off from the commercial and cultural centers of the cities in which they live,” said Emir Chabal. Specialist in contemporary French history and politics at the University of Edinburgh.

On June 29, 2023, a pedestrian walks past a burnt-out car in the Pablo Picasso residential complex in Nanterre, on the western outskirts of Paris. © Bertrand Guay, AFP

when economic growth slows 1980s, Residents find themselves unable to improve their prospects or move to more desirable neighborhoods. “This creates intergenerational poverty that is often exacerbated by racial discrimination as these communities become increasingly racially diverse,” Chabal said. explain.

French law prohibits the collection of data on the ethnic composition of the population, But NGOs and think tanks agree that “racism is a reality in France” Julien Talpin, a political science researcher specializing in vulnerable communities at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), said.

one Open Society Justice Initiative A 2009 study found that Paris police sometimes stopped black and Arab people for the following reasons: race or dress rather than personal Behavior.

read moreTeen slaying raises questions as French police dare not name names

A 2019 study Nine countries in Europe and North America found that, during the recruitment process, French highest rate of discrimination against non-white natives Any country studied, including the US, UK, Canada and Germany.

In housing projects, widespread social problems Isolated communities facing high rates of poverty and racial discrimination.

“These neighborhoods bring together all the problems of contemporary France: high unemployment, low school enrollment, discrimination of all kinds, and precarious family and social life,” Chabal said.

“The rise in petty crime and drug trafficking is not helping Police violence isn’t excessive either, and it’s almost always racially overtones. “

‘Political aspirations’

3 weeks french riots 2005 – Led by residents of public housing projects – Declares a state of emergency over 10,000 vehicles yes was burned 233 public buildings were damaged. The riots were caused by: Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, teenagers They were on their way home from a soccer game in Clichy-sur-Bois, a suburb of Paris, when they escaped police and died trying to hide in an electrical substation.

Riots broke out in 2017 Response to reports of police brutally raping 22-year-old local educator Théodore Luhaka with batons period Stop and search Opening of business in Aulnay-sous-Bois, another suburb of Paris.

read moreRacism, sexual abuse and impunity: French police’s toxic legacy in the suburbs

On June 27, Nahel was shot dead by police and subsequently week of riots see Hundreds of people, many of them teenagers, were arrested by police. Chabal said they may not have been involved in previous riots themselves, but may have “intergenerational memories” of racist violence and racialized policing. “Every new cycle of violence [becomes] more intense because children not only seek revenge for injustice committed against them they but And the injustices committed against those who came before.

At the same time, local communities are lack of solutions Stop the riots. “Social Workers, Educators, and Community Organizations lack of actual funding [a] positive and more constructive exit Because last week we saw anger,” Tarpin said.

Especially since the 2005 riots, billions of euros Funds have been pumped into France’s QPV to reverse Urban reject and resolve persistent Social Issues.

Most of the funds are prioritized for entities changes like this Improve housing, build new facilities like libraries, and expand transportation links it’s important Tarpin said. “But not enough money has been spent on social,” he added.

Residents are calling for the following services: Close (or community) policing, Tarpin said. “Officers who work in these communities every day can actually establish trust with the residents. ”

But some feel they’ve made progress see only “White-washing is not delivering real results and addressing structural issues“, Chabal said. “Most of the socioeconomic Indicators for urban renewal areas remain unchanged or get since 1990s. “

unemployment rate, educational success Poverty levels have failed to improve.

“The question now is not the evidence of these problems, but the political will to actually address them,” Tarpin said.

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