With Eye on Polls, Macron Unveils Plan to Tackle Marseille Crime
(Bloomberg) -- Emmanuel Macron said the state would pour money into Marseille to improve education, housing, transportation and safety in France’s second-most populous city, as he steps up efforts to woo voters ahead of the upcoming presidential election.
“Marseille is at the crossroads of many challenges: climate change, geopolitics, migration,” Macron said in a speech on Thursday, with the Mediterranean port city’s habour in the background. “The nation’s duty is to be by the side of those who live in Marseille.”
Macron spent three days in Marseille -- his longest official visit to any city since taking office in 2017 -- trying to ditch his image of a Parisian leader disconnected from the population. He once said his love for Marseille had no limit and that he was a die-hard supporter of its OM soccer club, but it has so far shunned both him, and his party, in electoral polls.
With security already a significant issue in the April 2022 election, Macron toured a police station in Marseille’s poorer northern suburbs and pledged to crack down on drugs and trafficking by boosting police numbers.
Crime in the city has been a hot topic of debate in France since the start of the year, after a spate of grisly murders linked to cartels and gangs made national headlines. Its Socialist mayor has been calling urgently for more investment to try and address the root causes of the violence.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.