in Nantes, a thousand demonstrators against insecurity

Demonstration against insecurity in Nantes, Saturday October 1, 2022. Thibault Dumas/Le Figaro

REPORTAGE – The rally took place in the city center, after a week marked by several news items. The mayor of the city, Johanna Rolland, asks for 80 additional police officers in the Interior.


“Nantes, insecurity, we don’t want it”, “Sidewalks to walk on, not to be attacked”, or “Johanna get moving”, to the address of Mayor Johanna Rolland (PS). It was while chanting these slogans that a thousand Nantes residents marched through the streets of the city center soaked in drizzle this Saturday afternoon. They responded to the call of the Nantes Night Security (S2N) collective, created in 2019 by the manager of a bar and a security guard. “We are just defending the right to work and live in this city quietly, with 24-hour municipal police, more cameras and more public lighting,” summarizes Guillaume Toutin, one of the organizers. The crowd is smaller than expected but presents varied profiles: young people, retirees, families. Elected officials from the municipal opposition (LR and En Marche) and activists from the right-wing student union Uni also mobilized.

“I walk against insecurity, especially for my grandchildren. I fear for myself and for them. There are many more problems than before, like in all big cities. With a laxity of the town hall and the State”, explains in the crowd Irene, a 59-year-old childcare worker, who came with her husband. “You can feel a deterioration in the city, especially at night. The problem is that this shared feeling is not necessarily seen in the figures”, analyzes Gilles Emeraux, president of the Village association which brings together merchants from Feydeau Island, in the city center. “I hope that we will get out of this media frenzy from above”, he sighs.

Because Nantes has experienced a week of grueling crimes and misdemeanors. On Saturday, September 24 in the early morning, a 40-year-old woman was assaulted and raped by two men – two Sudanese aged 17 and 27, in a regular situation, have been in pre-trial detention since. Tuesday, September 27, the refusal to comply by a man on a scooter seriously injures a police officer on a Nantes boulevard. The next day, a 17-year-old boy was shot twice in the Dervallières district, plagued by drug trafficking. He will be saved by the doctors. Thursday, September 29, the partially charred body of an 18-year-old boy was found with a bullet in the head, in Saint-Herblain.

“We are lucid about the situation in Nantes”

“We are lucid about the situation in Nantes. We don’t want the city to be damaged by the reality of insecurity, but also by the political instrumentalization that is being made around it. On this we unite “, reacts, now energetically, the mayor Johanna Rolland. She has around her the main professional organizations of traders, who did not call for the demonstration on Saturday. The municipality now requests an additional mobile force of 80 national police officers “to fight against petty crime, a consequence of drug trafficking”. As well as a continuous police presence from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the inner city, from Feydeau to Commerce via Bouffay, combining municipal and national police. A meeting with Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin is scheduled for Tuesday.

“I feel a shift in the mayor as in Nantes, reacts in the demonstration, Foulques Chombart De Lauwe, opposition municipal councilor (LR), because the vase is suddenly overflowing today after being slowly filled for years. There are drugs, but also night security, and the reception of migrants that we must do less and better. » The figures made public by the Loire-Atlantique prefecture are mixed. General crime in Nantes fell by 9.31% as of August 31, 2022, compared to 2019 (marked drop in property crimes and burglaries, in particular). Nevertheless, intentional attacks on physical integrity and acts related to narcotics increased by 15.32% and 11.66% respectively.

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