BBC Turkish, Saint Denis / 18 November 2015
Saint Denis was in lockdown as a police operation unfolded against suspects in Friday’s attacks, and the latest developments moved the focus to this northern Paris suburb at the heart of France’s debate over radicalisation.
While Parisians warily return to the cafes, restaurants and theatres, the mood among young people in this banlieue – less then a 30-minute train-ride away – is a far cry from the fun lifestyle that epitomises the central districts.
Around the Place de la Republique in central Paris, streets away from last Friday’s deadly attacks, all the talk is of solidarity. But in Saint Denis, it is different.
“Right, solidarity… But don’t you think they exaggerate the Paris attacks when there are more Syrians dying everyday?” This is what I heard in Saint Denis, a multicultural and multi-ethnic place with a population of Africans, Algerians, Indians, Chinese, Turkish and many other backgrounds.
Many here have a “sans-papiers” status, without legal status or an ID that would allow them to work.
Crime is rife, with high rates of robbery, drugs offences and murder.