in Seine-Saint-Denis, the evacuation of a disputed tower

By Isabelle Rey-Lefebvre

Posted today at 04:58, updated at 11:55

This Monday, November 22, at the foot of the Obélisque tower, 32 floors and 163 apartments, located in Epinay-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis), there is an atmosphere of salvage, chaos, exodus . Several moving trucks are parked in front of the door; the halls and corridors are, on almost every floor, cluttered with suitcases, appliances, furniture and cardboard boxes. Prefectural notices dated November 4, posted in all common areas, call for urgent evacuation to “Grave and imminent danger”.

In question, a risk of collapsing balconies. Some fractured doors, which can only be closed by the adhesive tape seal affixed by the police, testify to the first evacuations, eight days earlier. A week before, police, firefighters, CRS came knocking on the door of the 54 apartments facing the south facade, the most exposed to this risk, and pushed out 75 adults and 25 children. With this new evacuation, a total of 300 people will have lost their homes. “When the police arrived, I was at the bottom of the building, and they forbade me to go up to my house., says Mehdi, co-owner occupying since 2018. It was only thanks to the intervention of my lawyer and the deputy Eric Coquerel [La France insoumise], present that day, that I was able to take some things, clothes and, of course, my medical file, being on disability. I was relocated to a hotel at Porte de La Villette, which was quite correct ”, he admits.

Christiane Rouger (right), on her daughter's arm, had lived since 1974 in the Obélisque tower, in Epinay-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis), on November 21, 2021.

“I found my 90-year-old mother behind a cordon of CRS, haggard and on the verge of tears, surrounded by Red Cross volunteers, with a few things at her feet. No hotel proposal suited her, I brought her back to my two-room apartment of 42 square meters, very close “, tells his son, Benjamin Colafrancesco, 67, retired from the Eclair cinema laboratories. “How are we going to do when my partner comes home with her cats?” “, he worries. “They took my keys and kicked me out, explains Filomena Colafrancesco. I, who lived fifty years in this three-room apartment of 71 square meters, at 8e floor and with all the comforts, raised my two sons there and put all my money, here I am homeless… All I ask is to be relocated in the neighborhood. “

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers The queues are getting longer to obtain social housing

Despondency and anger

“We are treated like terrorists and we are offered tramp hotels”protests Maryse Faithi, active member of the union council, whose evacuation is pending. Because the other part of the tower, including the apartments without balconies, therefore without risk, must be vacated on December 8. Many occupants, co-owners (two thirds of apartments) or tenants, have no solution and wait in anguish.

You have 66.26% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.