UK & World News
Marseille Petition 'Asks Batman For Help'
Marseille residents have called on Batman for help after a recent surge in violent crime.
The mock online petition and Facebook page, entitled Will It Take Batman To Save Marseille?, comes after a pensioner was shot dead last week trying to stop a robbery.
Jacques Blondel, 61, knocked the robbers over with his car and confronted them with a baseball bat and pepper spray after they held up a tobacconist.
He tried to reason with them and grabbed for their gun but was shot in the thigh and stomach.
France's second biggest city has also seen 13 gang-related killings this year, many thought to be linked to the drugs trade.
Criminal gangs are increasingly using heavy duty weapons such as AK-47 assault rifles, thought to arrive in the city through its Mediterranean sea port.
Two murders earlier this month also saw an 18-year-old stabbed in the chest during a fight outside a nightclub and a 25-year-old man shot in his car by men on a motorbike.
The government has said it is sending in 130 extra riot police - who will be patrolling the city by the end of the month - as well as 24 more detectives.
But many residents of the southern city are critical of that response and say politicians are not doing enough.
"Today finished the soundbites and rhetoric ... The city needs action!" says the petition.
"Or are we preparing to always call more police and army ... then Batman!"
The petition calls for a more inclusive approach involving Marseille community groups and the government working around a "common vision".
Marseille, a European Capital of Culture for 2013, has high unemployment and levels of poverty, with critics saying the large immigrant population has been marginalised and alienated.