A town mayor is receiving protection from the national government after threats to behead him were painted on walls, the menacing messages coming just days after a teacher was decapitated in a Paris suburb.
Three different sets of graffiti were discovered around a Lyon suburb on Thursday, which referred to local police and the town’s mayor Jérémie Bréaud. French news magazine Paris Match reports that while the messages misspelt the mayor’s name, the intent was clear when they said: “Jérémy Breaud we will behead you!”
The French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who has been at the forefront of responses since a French history teacher was beheaded in a Paris suburb last week, published a message of support for the mayor, saying he had been placed under protection.
Police are investigating the threats.
Menaces de mort à l’encontre du maire – « on va te decapiter ! » de Bron :
A ma demande, le préfet va saisir la justice et prévoir une protection de l’élu.
Soutien à ce maire, comme à tous les élus victimes de menaces.
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) October 22, 2020
Match cites the remarks of the mayor after the threats, who said that his first reaction was one of “bewilderment”, but nevertheless said he was not afraid and would not give up ground. The mayor also noted how the city had dramatically increased the number of police officers in the area and was pushing hard against drug dealers.
Following last week’s killing, Bréaud said, it was now clear that the French Republic had an enemy in “radical Islam”.
Interior Minister Darmanin has announced a series of initiatives against radical Islam since the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist on Friday last week. Among them are police raids on individuals and organisations that were supportive of the killer immediately after the attack, and the state dissolving associations and groups with extremist views.
The mayor is not the only Frenchman to have received death threats in the wake of Paty’s killing by 18-year-old Chechen refugee Abdullah Anzorov.
French media revealed this week that teachers at several schools had been threatened with death unless they pay a ransom. While not mentioning beheading specifically, the emails alluded to the “‘Chechen diaspora (which) closely monitors all those who offend the Almighty'”.
French Teachers Receive Death Threats Explicitly Referencing Beheading of Samuel Paty https://t.co/N9GjlIhcQT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 24, 2020