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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

‘Unacceptable’: France’s Macron denounces latest MP assault in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

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French president Emmanuel Macron has denounced the latest attack on an elected MP in an overseas territory.

Macron said the attack on Stéphane Claireaux — from the ruling En Marche party (LREM) — was “intolerable” and unacceptable”.

Anti-vaccine protesters targeted Claireaux outside his home in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon on Sunday, throwing seaweed and other projectiles. A video on the incident was shared on Twitter by France’s minister of overseas Annick Girardin.

It is the latest instance of violence or threats of violence against elected French MPs over new COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have seen an increase in violence,” Macron said on Monday in a statement to elected representatives and associations in Nice.

Claireaux has confirmed that has lodged a complaint after the assault in the Atlantic Ocean territory, which he claims “resembled a stoning”.

“We all receive death threats by mail, at some point, it must stop,” he told FranceInfo on Monday.

The president’s National Assembly is expected to meet interior minister Gérald Darmanin on Tuesday to discuss a response to the increase in attacks on elected officials.

According to official statistics, 1,186 elected representatives were targeted in the first eleven months of 2021 — an increase of 47 per cent compared to 2020.

Last month, the property of LREM lawmaker Pascal Bois was vandalised and set on fire by suspected anti-vaccine protesters. Darmanin had already pledged to strengthen the protection of the homes and offices of MPs.

“Violence and intimidation against our elected representatives are a red line in our democracy,” said Gérard Larcher, the president of the French senate from The Republicans.

“I call for exemplary sanctions against the perpetrators of such acts,” he added.

But other French MPs have also criticised president Macron for recently provoking anger unvaccinated French citizens.

Under the new legislation, only those citizens who have been fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from infection will be allowed to visit French bars, restaurants, or theatres.

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