France: ‘African Defence League’ Threatens Statues of Napoleon and De Gaulle

A picture taken on March 19, 2012 shows a file photo of late oscar-winning French filmmaker, novelist and war correspondent Pierre Schoendoerffer prior his funerals under Napoleon I's statue in the Cour d'honneur at the Invalides, in Paris. AFP PHOTO/JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP via Getty Images)

The far-left French “Black African Defence League” has threatened statues of some of France’s most famous icons, including Napoleon Bonaparte and General Charles De Gaulle.

On Wednesday, the group called to remove a statue of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the former First Minister of State under King Louis XIV.

The Black African Defence League took to the streets of Paris to demand the statue be removed last weekend. They said: “In front of the National Assembly, there is the statue of Colbert: that fat son of a bitch who wrote the Code Noir, who said that black people were not human beings.”

The Code Noir was passed as a decree by King Louis XIV in 1685, two years after the death of Colbert. It defined the conditions of slavery in the French empire from religious practice to sexual relations and marriage to punishments for those who broke the code’s rules.

The Black African Defence League called for the statue to be taken down and placed in a “Museum of Racism”. They went on to add: “The public statues of the accursed Colbert, Napoleon, General De Gaulle will be thrown in the bins of humanity’s history; thus, their memories will be wiped from the face of the earth for the benefit of younger generations.”

While few statues of Napoleon have been vandalised in recent years, statues of General De Gaulle have been attacked on multiple occasions. In 2017, the tomb of the World War II General was vandalised, causing widespread anger from French politicians.

Across many countries, far-left activists are demanding the removal of statues of historical figures or toppling them, themselves.

In the United Kingdom, far-left activists have published a hit-list of memorials they would like to see torn down, including Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe and who played a vital part in defeating the Spanish Armada.

While some politicians have agreed with far-left Black Lives Matter activists that certain statues need to be removed and some police have said they will not to take measures to protect the icons, regular citizens have stepped up to defend many of them.

Among them have been a group of locals in Poole who stood up to calls to remove a statue of Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouts movement, mounting a 24/7 watch over him after local officials said they would put him in storage.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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