After series of deadly shootings, Izards hope to get out of the drug neighborhood cliché

At the metro station – B. Colin

  • During the summer, several fatal shootings took place in the Izards district against the backdrop of a turf war linked to drug trafficking.
  • The Prime Minister announced on October 9 the assignment of thirty police officers within two years which should allow “a reconquest of the territory, prior to the development of projects” assures the mayor of Toulouse.
  • In the meantime, the inhabitants, at their wit’s end, are trying to reinvest the land with the means at hand.

The buildings are brand new, far from the image of a dilapidated district where insalubrity lurked in the least HLM. For a little less than five years, the dilapidated bars of Izards gradually gave way to small, rather pretty residences with wooden cladding. An urban renovation with millions of euros for this Toulouse district which has seen Zebda grow.

But these investments have not stopped the drug trade. In recent years, the Izards have even become a hotspot, supplanting the very popular Mirail in terms of profitability. Enough to whet appetites, especially after the arrest of several “Izards Industry” pundits, the label that the dealers have given themselves. The place left open, this summer, a turf war broke out, killing four people as a result of settling scores. More than a month ago, the Prime Minister himself made the trip there, announcing his placement in a Republican reconquest zone, with around thirty police officers assigned over the next two years.

Wrecks in front of the entrance to the Rigal stadium, in the Toulouse district of Izards (illustration). – B. Colin

This Tuesday, the mayor of Toulouse, Jean-Luc Moudenc, was back in the popular city to meet the population and hear his fed up. But also to make an observation on the spot. Because behind the beautiful buildings, there is the reality of squats. Like the one at the end of the Rigal stadium football field. “We lost our footing here,” admits an agent of the Metropolis in front of the town councilor who came to visit these installations on rue Raphaël. Some rooms are occupied, “and as soon as they are closed, they are reopened”, he continues.

“Reconquest of the territory, a prerequisite”

“And it intensified with the confinement. To reassure the parents, the squatters were fired, but what is needed is someone permanently to guard the premises, ”says Mohamed Benguenaoui of KD Boxing, who takes care of about sixty children. In front of a row of wrecks obstructing the entrance to the sports complex, the latter admits it bluntly: “we sometimes feel abandoned, it’s survival.” And to support his statements, he enumerates to elected officials the daily problems, from the excrements that litter the ground to the difficulties in financing the equipment, often stolen as soon as it is installed.

The assistants who came to roam the neighborhood alongside Jean-Luc Moudenc conscientiously note the requests on small pieces of paper, promising to find solutions. “For squat evacuations, the removal of vehicles, the mayor has no control. If we organize surveillance with a municipal agent and he is threatened, it will not work. There will soon be 30 police officers here dedicated to this geographically limited territory, if we manage to restore security, our projects will develop. The downside is that the news obscures the background work of the community, ”assures the mayor of the Pink City, who is, however, considering completing the fleet of seven video surveillance cameras.

Means, for everyday life

The latter then evokes the housing reconstruction policy for greater social diversity, future investments in public equipment for children and recreation shared with other services for an amount of 5.5 million euros or the renovation of the Rigal stadium. for 2 million euros within three years. “I have heard people say that we abandon the neighborhood, from the moment we want to transform it, it takes time,” notes Jean-Luc Moudenc.

But some locals are impatient. Like these mothers gathered around a table in the small room of Izards Attitude. There, we talk about volunteering and commitment in the fight against dropping out of school or psychological support for children sometimes traumatized by repeated shootings. “Before security there is prevention, we must put the package on prevention. We are convinced of what we do because we do it with the heart, ”insists Yamina Aïssa Abdi, the enthusiastic president of the association.

But like everyone else, she is also faced with down-to-earth problems such as the opening hours of the rooms to accommodate homework help provided by the parents themselves. “And here, the association pays 250 euros in rent per month to Toulouse Métropole Habitat, it is a burden, at the end of the year it counts”, pleads Salah Amokrane, coordinator of the Tactikollective and former city council, which wants to play the concrete card, far from ministerial visits last month.

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