Beautiful France trembles at the “savagery” of the drug wars.


People ran screaming when the first shots rang out. Hooded gunmen in black overalls took to the streets, firing bursts of Kalashnikovs, apparently in pursuit of a rival group.

It sounded like something from the Mexican narco war. But the scene, filmed over the phone by a shocked spectator last month in Nice, highlighted not only the rise in gang violence, but also a more serious scourge identified by a government minister as “savagery”.

From the French Riviera to the English Channel, the Gallic holiday season has been poisoned this year not only by the pandemic but by a wave of extremely violent crimes exposing a dark side to the “beautiful France” of brochures.

When the new Prime Minister, Jean Castex, was appointed last month, he vowed to “put a


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