Illustration of police officers on patrol on Kennedy slab in the Villejean district of Rennes. - J. Gicquel / 20 Minutes

  • Renowned as a fairly calm city, Rennes has been experiencing an outbreak of violence for several weeks amid drug trafficking.
  • Eight particularly violent settlements have been recorded since the start of the year.
  • Authorities promise a firm response, tackling both supply and demand.

"I am not Professor Raoult of the judiciary, I have no miracle cure". Philippe Astruc has a sense of humor. But the public prosecutor of Rennes is however not in the mood to laugh. Because for several weeks, the Breton capital has experienced an unprecedented outbreak of violence against the backdrop of drug trafficking. "The situation is complicated," recognizes Gilles Soulié, interregional director of the judicial police. We have already had eight settlements since the start of the year, compared to two cases in 2018 and four in 2019 ”.

More numerous, assaults between rival bands are also more violent with the use of firearms which is becoming almost systematic. During April, in full containment, the districts of Villejean and Le Blosne were thus the scene of violent settling of scores. It is the lynching of a young person from the Blosne district who came to venture into the Villejean district on April 10 which is the starting point for a series of gunshots that occurred in the two districts. The very violent attack was publicized by the Synergie-Officiers police union, which posted the video surveillance images on its Twitter account.

Six individuals charged with attempted murder

To break this spiral of violence, the judicial and police authorities promised "a strong reaction". On May 26, a vast operation was launched, leading to the arrest of seven people suspected of having participated in these settling of accounts. Six of them, young men between the ages of 17 and 26, were charged with attempted murder by an organized gang and the association of criminals and imprisoned. "I don't want Rennes to become a city where these facts become commonplace and where we count the points," says Philippe Astruc.

In this war against traffickers, the Rennes public prosecutor has planned to mobilize all the means at his disposal. For several weeks now, he has been able to count on a reinforced police presence on the ground. The confinement having ended the demonstrations, the agents mobilized for the maintenance of public order were deployed in the districts where tensions are high. "Deal points have been identified and we are now going to act in a micro-territory approach", says Philippe Astruc, well aware that this will take time. "It is illusory to think that we will settle this in a few weeks", he underlines.

Cannabis smokers soon to be fined

To dismantle these “criminal SMEs”, Philippe Astruc also intends to “attack demand” by punishing cannabis smokers with a lump sum fine of 200 euros. The measure, which will be tested in Rennes, Créteil and Reims, will come into force in the next few days and for a period of two months.

According to the public prosecutor of Rennes, this device must make it possible to "make the user responsible" because "it is the customers who make these mafia-type businesses flourish". "The less demand there is, the more we will be able to act effectively against supply," he says.


In Rennes, fines for cannabis smokers will soon drop


Fifteen people arrested in a vast anti-drug call

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