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To date, 27 portraits of Macron have been "unhooked" in town halls, 13 activists will go to court

The gendarmes received clear instructions to put an end to this campaign led by an NGO.

By Rémi Barroux Posted today at 11h16, updated at 11h49

Time to Reading 2 min.

Activists ANV COP21 and the mayor of Cabestany (Pyrénées-Orientales), Jean Vila, remove the portrait of Emmanuel Macron hanging in the town hall of the city, February 27, 2019.
Activists of ANV COP21 and the mayor of Cabestany (Pyrénées-Orientales), Jean Vila, remove the portrait of Emmanuel Macron hanging in the town hall of the city, on February 27, 2019. RAYMOND ROIG / AFP

The instructions are clear. In an internal circular sent to all gendarmes, in early March, the Directorate General of the National Gendarmerie alert on the campaign of "stall" official portraits of Emmanuel Macron in the town halls, launched on February 21 by activists Action non violent COP21 (ANV-COP21), to denounce the "Vacuum of climate policy" of the Head of State.

Unveiled on March 22 pa Tweet from the former deputy of the Front National Jean-Yves Le Gallou, the missive encourages "To collect the complaints of the mayors or, failing that, those of the prefects in substitution, so as to reinforce the penal response of the prosecution".

When the facts are claimed on behalf of the association ANV-COP21, specifies the direction, it is necessary "To verify that the mis en cause are members or sympathizers of this association" and "Take hold of the BLAT [bureau de la lutte antiterroriste] in order to determine the modalities to be implemented to seek the moral responsibility of this association ".

And a weekly report by the "SCRC", the central criminal intelligence service, will analyze judicial police reports. "Showing the words" portrait president "and / or" ANV-COP21 "".

Read to understand the context: The portrait of Macron "kidnapped" by climate campaign activists in a Paris city hall

"The gendarmes should have other priorities"

To date, twenty-seven portraits have been removed. Thirty-five activists were interviewed by the police, including twenty-one in police custody, according to ANV-COP21's lawyer, Alexandre Faro. Nine people were summoned for trial in Paris on 11 September 2019, two in Strasbourg on 26 June and two in Lyon on 2 September. "It is very shocking that these symbolic stalls can be considered as attacks on the security of the state", says Alexandre Faro.

"The government wants to silence activists who denounce the discrepancy between his speeches and his actions, Judge Jon Palais, spokesperson of ANV-COP21. They do not assume their policy. They could say like Trump [le président des Etats-Unis] that climate does not matter. "

For this activist, who claims non-violent action and says that the material damage is tiny – "This portrait is worth at most a few euros" -, the reaction is of the order of the symbolic. "The gendarmes should have other priorities in the current situation", asserts Jon Palace.

On the side of the national gendarmerie, it is said that this is a "Current procedure", from a "Usual message". Questioned by The world, the minister of ecological and solidarity transition criticizes this campaign launched by ANV-COP21. "I find it particularly unwelcome in the context of the violent questioning of democratic institutions, that is to say the legitimacy of the ballot boxes., says François de Rugy. I have the impression that the "spectacular" action hides the void of propositions. "

Read also Macron and ecology: after 18 months of power, a not very green inventory

Rémi Barroux

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