Colmar (AFP)

The president of the Grand Est region, Jean Rottner, LR candidate for re-election, was sprayed with flour on Saturday in Colmar, as he left a rally in defense of regional languages, AFP journalists noted.

It was when Jean Rottner, former mayor of Mulhouse, was about to leave the rally organized in front of the premises of the "Eltern Alsace" association that he received a large quantity of flour on his head from a person. unidentified.

Cries of "traitor" and "felon" were heard.

"To be floured on this occasion by an autonomist is a form of recognition. I am very sensitive to this tribute to Alsatian pastry", then wrote with irony on Twitter Jean Rottner.

Previously defender of the maintenance of Alsace as a region, he is regularly reminded of having become the figurehead of the great region regrouping Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne, still often poorly accepted in Alsace despite its institutional renaissance under the features of the new European Collectivity of Alsace (CEA).

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About 200 people, including many candidates for the next regional and departmental elections, gathered late Saturday morning to defend the teaching of Alsatian immersion at school.

From Brittany to Occitania via the Basque Country, several demonstrations are planned throughout the day in France to protest against the controversial decision of the Constitutional Council to censor "immersive education" in regional languages, voted in the framework of a bill to the Assembly.

Immersion corresponds to teaching carried out for a large part of school time in a language other than French.

"The only way to ensure that my children can become true Alsatian speakers and later pass on to their children a language that has been in their family for centuries is immersion education," explained to AFP Cécile Walschaerts, Belgian married to an Alsatian and mother of two little girls aged 7 and 5, who did their kindergarten years in Alsatian / German immersion.

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Many participants in the rally waved the red and white flag of Alsace, while placards hijacked the German slogan of the Haribo candy brand by proclaiming "Immersiv macht Kinder froh und Erwachsene ebsenso" ("Immersion makes children happy and adults too ").

In Lille, around forty people gathered on Saturday morning in front of the rectorate to demand primary education in Picard, from the start of the 2021 school year, and the recruitment of Flemish teachers.

"The censorship of the Constitutional Council mortgages the future of our languages. If we do nothing, Picard will disappear," predicts Olivier Engelaere, director of the regional agency for the Picard language.

© 2021 AFP