Five activists, arrested Friday at the Quai Branly Museum where they had torn down a funeral pole to denounce the "dispossession of Africa of its riches", will be tried at the end of September in Paris court, we learned from the prosecution on Sunday .
>> VIDEO - African activists enter the Quai Branly museum to remove a work
"Attempted theft in a meeting of a classified movable object"
At the end of their police custody, these five men were released on Sunday under judicial supervision after being presented to the public prosecutor's office which decided to have them tried before the criminal court for "attempted robbery in reunion of an object classified furniture ". The group had filmed and then posted online the video of their action on Friday. We see one of the five men, who presents himself as a national of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, unsealing a 19th century Bari funeral pole, helped by another, before taking him down the halls.
Acts "which damage heritage"
While he is being filmed, the man shouts his criticisms of France: "We have decided to recover what belongs to us". "These goods were stolen from us during the colonization. We leave with our property, we take it home," he repeats to the guards who apostrophy and try to detain them, before their arrest by the police. The Minister of Culture Frank Riester condemned Friday in a statement "with the utmost firmness" these acts "which damage heritage". He notes that these men "formulated messages of a political nature and disputed the presence of this work, and others, in the French collections".
The Quai Branly Museum has the main collection of African primitive arts
"If the debate on the restitution of works from the African continent is perfectly legitimate, it can in no way justify this type of action," added Frank Riester. "The work does not seem to have undergone any significant deterioration and the museum will take all measures without delay to carry out any required restorations," said the minister. The question of the restitution of African works which arrived in French public museums during the colonization is particularly sensitive and controversial. The Quai Branly Museum has the main collection of early African arts.