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Macron Unveils Plan to Tackle Problems in France's Suburban Slums

French president Emmanuel Macron speaks during the presentation of the French government's battle plan for the country's most deprived areas, May 22, 2018, at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

In a much-anticipated speech, French President Emmanuel Macron presented plans Tuesday to improve health, education, security and infrastructure in France's disaffected suburbs, which have been tinderboxes of unrest and sometimes incubators of radicalism.

President Macron laid out a series of concrete, actionable measures for the country's troubled banlieues, or suburbs — from more community policing, urban renovation, and educational support, to cutting through layers of bureaucracy, fighting drug dealing, and better communication with local mayors about suspected radicals.

Macron Takes on France’s Disenfranchised Suburbs
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Macron said while suburbs were places of talent and promise, they were also places of violence where things were not working and the situation was explosive.

He said it was important to invent new methods for turning around the suburbs, and leveling the playing field for their inhabitants, who should be active participants of change.

Macron said he wanted banlieue residents to recover their dignity and rights and that their background should not put a brake on their ambitions.

He said 1,300 more police would be deployed as part of a revived effort at neighborhood policing. Aan urban renovation initiative would be launched in July, similar to one in the southern city of Toulouse.

The low-income, high-crime suburbs around Paris and other French cities are a long-standing problem. In 2005, anger at police exploded into countrywide rioting, and banlieues have sometimes been incubators of radical Islam.

Successive French leaders have proposed plans for overhauling them. A number of banlieue mayors hoped Macron would adopt all the measures of a detailed report he commissioned, but that did not happen.

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