After several months of demonstrations of "yellow vests" and a chain of controversies, Christophe Castaner is again under pressure facing the challenge of policing the G7 Biarritz, despite repeated support from the executive.
No less than 13,200 policemen and gendarmes are mobilized in Biarritz and in the Basque Country transformed into an entrenched camp to welcome during the weekend the summit of the heads of state and government of the main industrialized countries.
In front of them, hundreds of anti-capitalist and anti-globalization activists will demonstrate, letting fear of violence and clashes under the eyes of cameras around the world.
"We will not tolerate any overflow, and if they do, we will respond," warned the interior minister.
The summit is it then a test for Christophe Castaner, regularly attacked on the management of the police after several months of demonstrations of "yellow vests"?
Officially, no. "The Minister of the Interior is not tested, he is in charge, the Prime Minister has full confidence in the device and the strategy of the police.You do not imagine the degree of support that brings the Prime Minister to his Minister of the Interior ", assures one in the entourage of Edouard Philippe.
This support, however, the Prime Minister has had to recall several times in recent weeks. "The Minister of the Interior is not weakened" and "I have full confidence in him," said Edouard Philippe late July after the discovery of the body of Steve Maia Caniço, disappeared the night of the Music Festival in Nantes marked by a controversial police operation.
Three months earlier, when the right and the left demanded the resignation of the Minister of the Interior after he spoke of "attack" against the Salpêtrière hospital, Edouard Philippe had already had to reaffirm his "confidence" in Christophe Castaner.
"I understand that the Minister of the Interior has corrected his statement, he was probably right in choosing the term he used, and I have no other comments to make except that he has obviously, and since the beginning, all my confidence, "he said.
- "The most complicated post that is" -
For several months now, the place Beauvau was facing criticism born of demonstrations of "yellow vests" that sometimes degenerated into violent clashes and riots.
The management of law and order reviewed by the minister has revived controversy, fueled by the images of protesters abused, hand-wounded or éborgnés or the death in Marseille of Zineb Redouane, 80, touched on the face by pieces tear gas grenade while standing at the window of her apartment on the 4th floor.
Christophe Castaner has "experienced the biggest crisis of public order for the past fifty years," says one place Beauvau. "What would another minister have done in his place?"
"After Cazeneuve or Collomb, Castaner gives an impression of lightness.It is offbeat.It seems that the costume is too big for him.For Laurent Nuñez (his secretary of state, ed), he would have trouble," believes a senior police officer. "I think he likes cops, but all the good things he can do to support the police are being swallowed up by his blunders," he says.
And to evoke the photos of the minister having fun in a bar one evening of demonstration "yellow vests", his statements "beside" as when he qualifies the degradations of a permanence LREM "of attack" or when it is Called to order by the prosecutor after announcing the arrest of a suspect in the parcel bomb attack in Lyon.
"Minister of the Interior, this is the most complicated job that is," said a former police union officer. "With a context increasingly complicated too, Christophe Castaner is not spared.He is there, he defends the institution and supports the officials," he added, judging estimating unnecessary controversies. "What could he do better?", He asks, highlighting the "political weight" of the minister who "can recognize the difficulties of colleagues in the field."
"And at the same time, we do not see who they could put in its place," adds a cadre of Beauvau.
© 2019 AFP