Jacques Serais, in Marseille, with Thibaud Le Meneec and AFP 6:50 p.m., September 01, 2021

Expected, the Head of State began his three-day visit to Marseille with a trip to the northern districts of the city, very affected by drug trafficking.

Emmanuel Macron will announce there a reinforcement of the police presence, as well as more means for justice. 

Emmanuel Macron arrived in Marseille on Wednesday afternoon to present an ambitious plan intended to respond to the social, educational, economic and security "emergencies" that the second city in France has accumulated, eight months before the presidential election.

Accompanied by no less than seven ministers, the Head of State was greeted by the socialist mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, at the town hall decked out in French, European and Marseille colors (blue and white), but also to the sound of "Macron resignation" launched by some demonstrators.

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Scheduled until Friday evening, the trip began with a meeting of Emmanuel Macron with about twenty local elected officials, including the president of the metropolis Martine Vassal, and the deputies, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), elected to Marseilles.

A vast security perimeter has been set up on the quays of the Old Port, which still bathes in a summer atmosphere.

Testimonies of suffering

His visit continued on the ground, to meet the inhabitants of the city of Bassens, in these northern districts of the city, plagued by violence and drug trafficking. Taking a real walkabout in this city of the 15th arrondissement, the Head of State first spoke with young people gathered on a low wall to see him. "We have an abandoned school, there is nothing for us," one of them told him. "Education is essential, we must bet on it so that young people do not drift," insisted a young educator working in a city in a neighboring district, Les Marronniers, where a 14-year-old teenager was shot dead. August 18 near a deal point. "Young people, once they have their feet in the stirrup, it's fine," he added.

But while Emmanuel Macron must announce significant aid to renovate schools in a deplorable state in the second city of France, this educator asked that there be "a traceability of funds", so that things really improve .

Progressing through the crowd, the head of state then went to speak to a group of women, even holding the hand of one of them very moved.

"I have suffered so much, there are no words, I want to leave" from the city, another of them told him.

Objective: files processed more quickly

Emmanuel Macron must announce an investment plan with a promising name, "Marseille en grand", for the renovation of schools, unsanitary housing ... Promises for local elected officials, "but this is not a blank check, the spending will be monitored, "already warns an Elysée adviser.

Emmanuel Macron also and above all wants to put an end to this criminality exacerbated by drug trafficking, with 15 deaths since the beginning of the year in the Marseille city.

This is why more than reinforcements of the number of police officers (300) already announced by the Minister of the Interior, the Head of State is preparing, according to information from Europe 1, to promise more resources in judicial matters so that cases are better and faster processed.

In short, for the last political return of his five-year term, Emmanuel Macron seems determined to strike hard with this XXL trip, even if it means shocking even in the ranks of the police. A slightly bitter Marseille policeman confided his astonishment to Europe 1: "If we deployed as many units as today for this presidential visit, we would definitely suffocate trafficking."