Is Europe’s security at stake?

In mid-June 2020, the French city of Dijon became a fighting ground for gangs of Chechens and North-Africans that faced each other with sticks, broken bottles, blades, axes, hand-guns, and assault rifles, all caught on video.

For three consecutive nights, the city became a real warzone, with security cameras “deactivated” with gunshots, blazes in the middle of the street to block any access to the area, knocked down street signals, destroyed cars.

According to reconstructions, it all began after a 16 years-old Chechen was approached in the street and beaten by a group of North-Africans in the Gresilles neighborhood.

The Chechens consequently took the streets in vast numbers to look for the attackers. However, this was only the beginning; in fact, authorities in Dijon explained that gangs issued a social media call for revenge, urging Chechens to travel from Belgium and around France to join the reprisal. 

It is clear that, no matter how strong the tribal sense of belonging might be within the Chechen society, it is quite hard to believe that hundreds of individuals, fully armed with semi-automatic weapons, can quickly be gathered from different parts of France and Belgium just to react to the beating of a 16 years-old boy, which in this case seems more as a “casus-belli”. As a matter of fact, it is fair to ask ourselves how did these groups manage to have access to such an arsenal; after all, Europe is not Texas.

The dynamics of the clashes tend to indicate something far more serious, such as territorial control over areas that were once under the hegemony of North-African groups and that are now being “threatened” by the Chechens.

Inter-ethnic battles are not a peculiarity of France, as on June 24th clashes broke out after Turks pestered a Kurdish gathering in Vienna, with stones, glass bottles, and fire-crackers being thrown at each other. Some Turkish demonstrators were using a hand gesture used by the Grey Wolves, an ultranationalist militant group affiliated with Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), according to the Austrian police.

Other clashes between Turks and Kurds had also taken place in Germany in 2019, over the Turkish offensive in north-eastern Syria. Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer is very right when he claims that “it is completely unacceptable for Turkish conflicts to be carried out on Austrian territory” and that is exactly the point, because as different ethnic communities move into Europe, the risk is that the respective tensions and hatred between groups will be transferred from their areas of origin to the heart of the “Old Continent”.

Back in 2011 clashes broke out in different parts of Spain between Gypsies and African immigrants in the Galician city of Ferrol as well as in Palma de Mallorca.

In February 2010 major violence broke out in Milan’s multi-ethnic “via Padova” street after an Egyptian immigrant was stabbed to death by a Dominican belonging to a local street gang. The North-Africans consequently took the streets of the neighborhood, attacking shops and destroying cars.

Considerations

Sometimes the cause of violence can be related to old grudges and resentment, while in other cases it can be the consequence of dispute over territory (as it very likely occurred in Dijon), with ethnic gangs feeling (and being) threatened by the arrival of other groups that tend to strengthen throughout time as the diaspora increases in numbers. In other cases, a single and random incident can degenerate into massive violence opposing different groups.

These facts indicate that Europe is heading towards an era of inter-ethnic and cultural clashes, and the situation can only deteriorate as massive immigration to the “Old Continent” from the Eastern and the Southern route do not stop.

European institutions so far seem unable to face the issue as shown in France and the declaration made to Reuters by the regional secretary of the National Alliance Police Union, Stephan Ragonneau, says it all:

“It would have been dangerous to intervene (earlier)…If it had kicked off, there would have been shooting everywhere. There would certainly have been injuries, deaths.”

This sounds like a total surrender to ethnic gang violence and at a very high cost for European society. Considering that the massive immigration towards Europe will unlikely be blocked in the short-medium term, it is worth pondering if and how the EU institutions will be able to face such a growing threat. If not, the role of private security could become essential in contrasting the phenomenon, as already occurred in certain areas of South Africa and South America. This would indeed be a sign of “third-worldization” of Europe, as public institutions would no longer be able to manage the security situation by itself.

Additionally, this situation could also lead to a further fragmentation of the European Union, as some State-members could decide to step aside and defend its borders, if the EU is no longer able to do it.

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