French seaside resort in grip of extreme violence

This summer, the inhabitants of the Hérault seaside resort has experienced exceptional violence. In Palavas-les-Flots, the problem is “young people from the Parisian suburbs”.

The small town of 6 000 inhabitants definitely can’t take it anymore. Located in the Hérault, Palavas-les-Flots is facing an unprecedented wave of violence, explained regional daily Midi Libre.

Traders have to fight “young people from the Parisian suburbs”. The daily even speaks of an “overheated atmosphere” on Friday August 21 at the seaside resort. Finally, after one of these brawls, which the police struggled to put an end to, a police officer was allegedly beaten. The town has become the symbol of a summer filled with immigrant youth delinquency.

A fight indeed broke out in the shop of a shopkeeper, Margot, taken to task by a Muslim family from Marseille, before her stepfather, a municipal police officer, intervened. “They were asked to pay attention to the clothes. The tone rose. Then we told them about masks which are compulsory in public. […] When I said I was going to call the police, things got out of hand. They broke everything. They beat up my grandmother who is 70 years old,” said the shopkeeper. Margot has sustained head injuries is now forced to wear a neck brace while her stepfather had his nose and elbow broken.

Margot described the atmosphere: “People were saying, ‘there’s a policeman on the ground, we’re going to kill him. We have to go lynch him’.”

Small business owners decided to demonstrate once again in the streets, as well as in front of the police station of Palavas-les-Flots, in order to denounce what they call an “abandonment” by the authorities. In the evening, the same group organised a “dead city” operation. Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin denounced the “unacceptable violence”.

On August 7, France Bleu reported the words of Christian Jeanjean, mayor of the city of Hérault: “Young people come to let off steam.” But his comment only ignited more anger.

Some 300 angry residents had previously demonstrated in front of the municipal police building to express their concern at the rising incivility, rodeos of cars and motorcycles in the streets at night, loud music on the beach and waste thrown anywhere.

They marched “against the delinquency and insecurity” as a result of visiting Muslim immigrant youths.

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