....dubbed the “walking dead” by locals who post voyeuristic videos online are seeking refuge in city parks.......

13 May 2021

PARIS – “He’s digging around in the dirt, trying to find some crack that he thinks he buried before,” says Sarah Vinet, an outreach worker for the charity Charonne, gesturing at a lone man rustling through the shrubbery of the Jardin d’Eole. “But there’s nothing there. It’s just a habit. They call it the ‘chicken syndrome’.”

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Hundreds of crack cocaine users come each day to congregate in this strange, liminal corner of northeastern Paris—a thin wedge of a park backing onto train tracks just minutes walk from the busy transport hub of Gare du Nord and the hipster haunt that is Canal Saint Martin – to get a cheap fix, to see friends and acquaintances, or just to have a place to burn through the hours of the day.

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