Roving gangs of 'young men' are terrorizing French females and shopkeepers in the center of Brest, according to reports.
Girls are regularly being targeted by groups of sex predators in the historic port city, located in the Brittany region of France.
Locals say the city center becomes a "hunting ground" in the afternoon when schools let out and aggressive young males congregate in the region of Rue Jean-Jaurès, a popular street for shopping.
"Between street harassment and physical assaults, they do not hesitate to attack young girls, touching their chest and buttocks. Shocked victims regularly seek refuge in the surrounding businesses," Ouest France reports.
Last week, a 16-year-old girl fought off a sex attacker in broad daylight.
One female shopkeeper tearfully recounted having to intervene when a group of men surrounded a young girl near her store.
"Around 4 p.m., in the street, I saw a gang approach a young girl and grab her by the waist, against her will. One of them saw that I was looking, and he ordered me to look down," she explained to Le Telegramme. "I stood up, and he rushed towards me. We were face to face. He had the bulging eyes of a jerk. I thought my time had come."
"In nine years in this business, I had never experienced this. I am 40 years old. I was born in a popular district of Brest. I learned to be respected. But what we are experiencing today is unimaginable."
Other business owners and workers shared similar tales of rampant sex assaults, robberies, violence, and death threats, but say police are overwhelmed.
“Street harassment is everyday," another local said. "One day, it's a teenager who has her bag ripped off. The next day, an employee of a business who gets spit in her face or who is 'throat slashed.' We go to work with a pit in the stomach."
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