Old friends conversing on a bench, local acquaintances chatting when they pass each other, mothers with their shopping bags.
At first glance, Place Aragon, in Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine), would seem almost peaceful on Wednesday morning.
But no need to linger for a long time to capture the heavy atmosphere of the place.
Located at the Quatre-Chemin crossroads, in the Petit-Colombes district, Place Aragon has become a disputed territory.
On the one hand, street vendors in an irregular situation offering individual packs of cigarettes.
On the other, "young people from the neighborhood", according to Hélène Nicolas, the deputy mayor for security in Colombes.
Rather "dealers" who chase sellers on the sly, sums up a policeman more clearly, when an old inhabitant of the district abruptly formulates: "The
are being dislodged.
The tensions have become more acute for ten days and particularly since last Friday.
First, an attempted stabbing murder on Friday;
then two brawls, Sunday;
finally, on Monday, a street vendor stabbed four times, knocked out and beaten up by a dozen people.
Including Kader K. and Billy B., 20 and 22 years old, judged in immediate appearance, this Wednesday afternoon.
The court stunned by the speeches of the defendants
"We must understand, two days before, a friend of ours, he took a blow from the katana in the back", explains Billy who, like his friend, holds a speech "staggering" according to the word of the prosecutor.
“The illegals are a problem in the neighborhood, they damage the area.
They tear off our mothers, our sisters
(Editor's note: understand they tear off their phones, bags or jewelry)
"It is therefore for this reason that the two friends and their gang swooped down on" a clandestine ", repeat the two defendants.
And because "another underground attacked our friend," Billy insists.
If Kader picked up a knife, allegedly fallen from the victim's pocket, if his boyfriend kicked and punched, it was because both of them “panicked”, they say.
"In any case, these people do not feel anything, they take medication, they do not feel the pain", now justify the defendants in front of a court stunned to hear such a speech.
Both of them deny working with the dealers in the neighborhood.
"But the police reports are clear," unfolds the president of the court.
Many North Africans in an irregular situation are settled in the district, precisely Place Aragon.
However, the place Aragon, it is the territory of the local delinquents in particular for the narcotics.
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Street vendors appeared in the neighborhood just after the lockdown last spring.
“It's a problem because they attack us by asking all day if we want cigarettes, confides this Wednesday morning, Place Aragon, an old inhabitant of the area.
And a lot of people have their phones and bags stolen.
"We know them, they are often the same"
Moreover, customers of the E.Leclerc center located just in front of the square and along the tram station complained so much that the supermarket management called in security guards posted on the sidewalk.
“The undocumented people, it is especially with those who run the neighborhood that they have problems,” continues a resident of Quatre-Chemins.
It's more and more tense.
The management of the nearby supermarket called in security guards to reassure its customers.
LP / VM
And it feels.
At the tram stop this Wednesday morning, there are four or five of them walking the platform, spotting a possible smoker.
"We know them, they are often the same", underlines a passer-by, while a young man slips a pack of cigarettes into the hand of a fifty-something two meters away.
This Algerian who seems to have aged too early is suspicious.
Knowing only a few words of French, he makes one understand the violence of the situation by mimicking stab wounds in the legs, raising his arms to the sky and nodding his head, while pointing to the back of the square.
Where cannabis dealers often post.
More police patrols planned
Whatever the real reason for Billy B. and Kader K.'s violence, both were sentenced to two years in prison and taken into custody immediately after the trial.
Police operations will increase in the coming days.
"We are in this very well-known sector every day," indicates a senior officer of the departmental police.
But controls and patrols will intensify.
The Colombes municipal police are also planning to increase their patrols.
"We felt the risk of violence rising lately," notes Hélène Nicolas, who is due to meet with police authorities at the end of the week.