“No, at closing time. Let’s mobilize. Youth in danger.” Here is what we could read, among other things, on the facade of the Plateau, this Friday at the end of the afternoon, in the sensitive district of Mistral, in Grenoble.
At the end of October, the association which has managed the structure since 2006 learned that the agreement which binds it to the City would not be renewed. and that on January 1, 2023, it will have to leave the premises which belong to the municipality. 11 employees will find themselves unemployed. Hence the demonstration organized this evening, to the sound of the BatukAVI, a batucada made up of children from the Villeneuve district, who came as neighbors to support the Plateau with their drums.
There were speeches from elected officials and personalities from the neighborhood who came to express their attachment to the place. “A beacon in a sensitive neighborhood” said one resident. Socialist Annie Deschamps live in this neighborhood. Elected for 33 years to the city of Grenoble, including two terms as first deputy to the socialist mayor Michel Destot, she contributed to the birth of this place to which she is very attached. “When we sought to set up a facility here, we wanted it to be open to the neighborhood and for the inhabitants to take ownership of it. It took some time, but we got there. Young people come here. It must not become a municipal thing that will no longer have character because there, it has the character of the inhabitants here. I wonder why we want to destroy this, what for? We don’t know and that saddens me.”
Fouzia, 20 years old, lives in the neighborhood and says she is “disgusted” by the announced closure of the Plateau: “If they close the Plateau to us, we won’t have anything left. Me, I was born in the neighborhood, we grew up with that. Ever since we were little, they have offered us activities. The fact that they want to close it, frankly, closes the memories! And I think it’s a shame for the little ones, who will no longer be able to play sports. I hope we will convince them not to do anything!“
Naza, a mother from Mistral, came to support the Plateau team which, for 16 years, has been offering sports and cultural activities to adults but especially to young people. “For young people, the Plateau, without laughing, is their second home. For example, my daughter received a lot of school support. Then, she has a good level in English and is in university” confides Naza, with pride
Béchir, treasurer of the Mistral football club, is angry: “I’m 48, I was born here, I put my footprints here. For 20 years, it has worked very well and overnight we are told that it is over. My club has 250 members and without the Plateau team, we wouldn’t be able to do it. We are not enough volunteers. We already don’t have any more shops, if the Plateau is taken away from us, what will be left? Delinquents and drugs?
If the Plateau is closed to us, there will be nothing here – Béchir, a resident of Mistral
Hassen Bouzeghoub, the director of the Plateau, wants to believe that it is still possible to negotiate with the municipality: “We have to get back around the table with the city and discuss. And don’t take us for three-week-old rabbits, as they say! All day, we are told about the humanist arc, well, humanity, where is it in this story?“
For its part, the city of Grenoble published a press release this evening to explain how it intends to strengthen popular education. She promises to reveal soon “an ambitious project combining public service, associative action, sporting and cultural offer for families and young people.” Not enough to reassure the inhabitants of Mistral who have launched a petition.