FIGAROVOX/INTERVIEW – After the violence at the Stade de France during the Champions League final in May, many young people forced their way into the Booba concert last Saturday night. The lawyer Thibault de Montbrial sees it as a symptom of systemic delinquency in France, and especially in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Thibault de Montbrial is a lawyer at the Paris Bar and president of the Center for Reflection on Homeland Security. He published We dare the authority (The Observatory, 2020) and The Surge or Chaos (Plon, 2015).
FIGAROVOX. – About sixty individuals without tickets entered the Stade de France violently by forcing their way on Saturday night during the Booba concert. How did the security fail? Isn’t this kind of event predictable?
Thibault DE MONTBRIAL. – The question of security at major events at the Stade de France is now being systematically raised. It is up to the police to manage the outer perimeter but it is up to stadium security to take care of direct access to the enclosure (ticket control and pat-down). According to the images, it is at this level that the path is forced by a pack of several dozen coordinated individuals. It is absolutely necessary to draw the consequences of these many incidents and to study the complex question of the strictness of access control, provided by private security operators. This operation has the least amount of calm and order. If a group suddenly starts to push, the deputies will inevitably be overwhelmed, because they are neither trained nor equipped to fight back.
This is also the reason why there is usually a first pre-filtering to prevent people from approaching without a ticket, before entering the enclosure itself. Between the two filters, there is an area where the police or gendarmes patrol. I don’t know if such a pre-screening was held this weekend, but if it was, it was almost a failure because people who didn’t have tickets were not supposed to come near the stadium grounds.
There is an urgent need to rethink the system, because given the location of the Stade de France and the structural delinquency of a part of the population living around, such incidents are inevitably called to multiply.
This clearly reminds us of the fiasco last May during the final of the Champions League, where many individuals attacked and extorted English and Spanish supporters. Why do these eruptions happen again? Do politicians have a responsibility?
This raises repeated questions of structural delinquency that exist in some French districts, with the coincidence behind and in a repeated way the question of immigration upstream, and the judicial response to the acts of delinquency.
Now, if we go into detailed analysis, this week’s incident is different from last May. At the end of May, this same population from the local crime pool did not enter the stadium but attacked many English and Spanish supporters near the stadium. There is a brutal and methodical open search of people and property. The case was different this weekend: the offenders returned directly, pushing and overwhelming the security service of the stadium.
What happened this weekend may not reassure foreigners who want to attend and participate in the Olympic Games.
Thibault de Montbrial
We must remember the reservations expressed by the former international player Thierry Henri when he learned that the final of the Champions League was moved to the Stade de France, because it will no longer take place in Saint Petersburg due to the invasion of Ukraine in Russia: he immediately recommended someone in English not to come because of the location of the stadium, meaning a high crime area. There is some strong criticism, but it is easy to criticize someone who is telling the truth. Events proved him right. What happened this weekend may not reassure foreigners who want to come and watch the Olympic Games.
“They count to three, then they chargeexplained a witness. Is this a sign of growing impunity?
It is not so much a question of impunity as an objective analysis of the situation of robbers. They recognize their victim’s weaknesses and organize themselves accordingly. The criminals of Seine-Saint-Denis fully understand what are the weaknesses of the security points and palpation at the entrance of the stadium. This is precisely why things need to change. The objective consists on the one hand that no one can approach the enclosure without tickets (when the event is sold out), and on the other hand that, despite the increase in the crowd, the stewards will not be overwhelmed .
Beyond the seriousness of the risks caused by the large number of spectators who exceed the number of seats in the stadium, it must be remembered that this type of situation also exposes the stadium to a terrorist risk. In fact, individuals who want to carry out an attack can join the group and use the wave to break into the stadium, with knives for example.
As for impunity strictly speaking, the risk of arresting an entry by force is small, and detection afterwards is even lower. We see in the video shot that almost all the people involved are dressed the same and therefore it is very difficult to formally identify them. They fully understand not only how things are done there but also how our legal system works.
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