AND HERE IS THE NEWS…
….a quick glance at the latest local news with Caroline Manson
8 people killed following explosion in apartment building
In the early hours of Monday 14th February, a huge explosion rocked through 3 apartment buildings on Rue Lamartine in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque. A huge fire then broke out and ripped through the buildings with such force that the pompiers were unable to save everybody. The bodies of the 8 victims have now been formally identified, among them were 5 members of the same family (parents aged 19 and 21, their 2 little children and their grandfather who was visiting overnight). Investigations into the explosion are particularly difficult as the three levels of the building have collapsed, meaning that the experts are now searching through 34 tonnes of rubble. All avenues remain open – whether criminal or accidental – and 3 x 13kg gas cylinders have been found in various parts of the building.
Rally in solidarity with the people of Ukraine
The ‘regular’ Saturday protest march took a different turn this weekend – rather than being a protest against vaccines, health passes or fuel prices, this Saturday people gathered to show their solidarity with the Ukrainians. More than a hundred people gathered in front of the Préfecture in Perpignan, carrying banners and chanting ‘Putin, Assassin”.
Nightclubs open again
After more than two months of forced closure due to Covid, clubs and discothèques reopened their doors last Wednesday evening. Clubs were allowed to open for 5 months last year, between July and December, but were closed over Christmas and New Year when they usually make much of their profit. Owners say they are pleased that they have managed to re-employ most of their employees – as the fact they were closed for just 2 months meant the staff were unable to find other employment. Masks will not be compulsory on the dance-floor but you will need to present a Vaccination Pass and ID to enter.
Young football supporter viciously attacked
During Sunday’s match between Canet RFC and Olympique Lyonnais, a 17 year old boy was badly beaten up by a dozen Lyon supporters, because he happened to be wearing a sweater in the colours of ‘Olympique de Marseille’. The Manager of Canet RFC stated that around 50 Lyon supporters attended the match, and all went well until the end, when a group of them circled the young man. He was beaten, they tore off his sweater and also took personal belongings from him. He was taken to the emergency room suffering from injuries to his neck and back. Olympique Lyonnais have promised to carry out an investigation into this violent behaviour. Olympique Marseille have also sent a message of support to the young man.
Man falls down manhole
An employee of a drains inspection company fell into a drain this Thursday in Elne. The man was trapped 2 metres down in the narrow hole for several hours before being rescued by firefighters from the Elne Rescue Centre and the teams of the Perilous Reconnaissance and Response Group (GRIMP). The man was eventually winched out and taken to hospital with a fractured right shoulder, right ankle and suspected spinal fracture.
Dangerous psychiatric patient arrested in Perpignan
In 2018, Barend Britz, a former USAP rugby player, was killed in front of his own bar by a violent punch. His murderer, Fabrice Alric was found criminally irresponsible and was placed in a specialised centre in Béziers. Last Tuesday, he managed to escape from the centre and was found and arrested in the Moulin à Vent neighbourhood, where his mother and partner live. The family of the murdered rugby player are furious to learn that he had managed to escape, catch a train and come to Perpignan, as they had been informed he was in a highly secure unit – which is not the case.
Macabre discovery in Perpignan prison
Prison guards made the grisly discovery of the bodies of 7 cats, hanging from the bars of a prisoner’s cell. The man had deliberately attracted the cats to his window, then strangled them using his cut-up bed-sheets. The man, who is serving a long sentence, denied the facts, but as he was the only occupant of the cell, he was placed in police custody. He is now in a specialised psychiatric centre but will eventually face the courts.
Thieves steal fuel from charity vehicles
The charity Restos du Coeur based in the Le Vernet district of Perpignan have been the victim of criminals again. In March 2018, thieves broke in and vandalised the headquarters looking for money. In January 2020, several hundred kilograms of food were stolen from the distribution centre, and last weekend, thieves cut through the fence of the compound and siphoned the fuel from three vehicles. The volunteers are shocked that people can be so heartless – the amount of damage is estimated at several hundred euros, including the cost of the fuel and the repairs to the tanks. The vehicles all carried the charity logo so the thieves knew exactly who they were targeting.