Europe 1 with AFP 10:29am, June 18, 2023

The resounding resignation of Yannick Morez, the DVD mayor of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, did not prevent ultra-right groups from sometimes continuing their intimidation campaigns in broad daylight. Among the elected officials threatened, there is the mayor EELV of Annecy after the knife attack perpetrated by a Syrian refugee.

More than a month after the resignation of the mayor of Saint-Brevin, far-right groups continue to intimidate elected officials, including that of Annecy after the knife attack perpetrated by a Syrian refugee, or that of another locality that gave the green light to a reception center. "We will remember you": François Astorg, the EELV mayor of Annecy, where a few dozen ultra-right activists gathered shortly after the attack that left six injured last week, has chosen to file a complaint. At issue: odious messages accusing him of having encouraged immigration and targeting his Senegalese mother.

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Intimidation campaigns

At the other end of the country, in Bègles, in the suburbs of Bordeaux, it was the permanence of the rebellious deputy Loïc Prud'homme who appeared tagged with Celtic crosses: "Your migrants, our dead!"

And the tension has not subsided in Saint-Brevin, a seaside resort of 14,800 inhabitants where the election of the new mayor was marked a week ago by the presence of young ultra-right activists, who contest the relocation of a reception center for asylum seekers (CADA). These demonstrators shouted under the windows of the city council "Yesterday Annecy, tomorrow Saint-Brevin", before being pushed back by the gendarmes. The resounding resignation of Yannick Morez, the DVD mayor of Saint-Brevin, has not prevented ultra-right groups from sometimes continuing their intimidation campaigns in broad daylight.

"Don't prove them right"

On the contrary, the emblematic photo of the elected official in front of two charred cars was found on the social networks of opponents of another CADA in a small town, whose mayor wishes to remain anonymous. His blood ran high when he discovered the comment that accompanied it: "it is ESSENTIAL for a mayor to LISTEN to the opinion of his inhabitants", while specifying that they "absolutely do NOT encourage this type of degradation and vandalism".

A "disguised threat" for this elected representative of a locality of a thousand inhabitants, who confides in AFP, and whose city council approved at the beginning of the year the installation of a CADA, leading since many anonymous threats. He now lives under the protection of the gendarmerie, is being medically monitored after a recent malaise and he assures that his wife "lives very badly" this situation after a demonstration ended in front of their home.

To the point that he admits to having recently gone with his wife with a knotted stomach to a dinner of the friendly firefighters which finally took place without tension. The mayor, not carded as often in small towns, admits to having thought of resigning like his colleague from Saint-Brevin. "But I'm not in that perspective. I will not give them reason, "he indignant, while ensuring that he feels protected by the State, especially the prefecture, unlike Yannick Morez who had denounced the "flagrant" lack of support.


Faced with this intimidation, which is added to the already increasing attacks against elected officials, the influential Association of Mayors of France (AMF) calls on the government to "more firmness" and increased penalties against the perpetrators of aggression "whatever the origins of the violence". "The government has not taken the measure of the situation," laments its deputy vice-president PS André Laignel, who regrets that "the state still has difficulty in politically characterizing certain demonstrations, especially when it comes to the far right."

Strengthened penalties, this is what proposes a bill tabled in the Senate, with a right-wing majority, including by the LR president of the Law Commission, François-Noël Buffet, who recently heard the resigning mayor of Saint-Brevin. "Taking action is now possible with the risk of causing at least serious injury or even death. This is a recent development," he said, calling for an end to it.

In addition to the strengthening of criminal provisions by Parliament, the senator expects the Ministry of the Interior "a lot of work" to identify small groups of the extreme right, but also of the extreme left that he also designates as authors of intimidation or violence on elected officials. "The democratically elected authority is constantly challenged and we no longer hesitate to take action," he said. "This is unacceptable!"