Attacks and Threats on French Mayors Tripled in 2020

A firefighter stands in front of a burning car during a demonstration against the French government's proposed labour reforms on March 31, 2016 in Nantes, western France. Fresh strikes by unions and students are being held across France against proposed reforms to France's labour laws, heaping pressure on President Francois …

Attacks and threats toward French mayors tripled in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to statistics released by the Interior Ministry, as aggression toward elected officials rises across the country.

In 2020, 1,276 acts of aggression, including threats and acts of violence, were reported against French mayors, while the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) claims that hundreds of deputies and at least 60 parliamentarians were subject to physical attacks that year.

According to a report from the French newspaper Le Figaro, some elected officials have begun receiving training from Gendarmes (paramilitary police) in order to learn how to diffuse potential conflicts, the first training of its kind.

The AMF, who sponsored the workshop, launched an Observatory of Assaults on Elected Officials last October and have reported that they have seen more personal attacks on politicians from simple graffiti to cars set on fire.

Rodolphe Thomas, Mayor of Hérouville-Saint-Clair, commented on the rise in violence and aggression, saying: ” It is clear that the 10 to 15-year-old generation, especially when they are in a gang, no longer has this respect for institutions: we are dealing with child kings. Covid has accelerated the process: without schools, sports or cultural associations, some have become small human bombs.”

Aggression against local officials becomes more common the larger a town is, with small villages less affected than towns of over at least 500 people. Despite the rise in aggression, just 37 per cent of elected officials actually go to court following an assault.

Assaults on elected officials are just part of the growing problem with insecurity and urban violence across France, which has developed into a major issue in recent months, particularly after the publishing of a letter by former military officials stating the country risked civil war.

Attacks against police officers and other emergency services have also been a major problem, one which led to a protest earlier this month in Paris of 35,000 police officers and members of the public, demanding action from the movement of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Last week, a police officer who was beaten so badly by youths he was placed into a coma regained consciousness and released a video on social media calling for politicians to do more to protect police.

“I’m making this video because we’re fed up. Fear has to change sides. If nothing is done, tomorrow there will be another police officer or another citizen in my place. It’s never going to stop,” the officer said.

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



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