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Nice mayor calls for 'revolt' against travellers' camps

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi.
Nice mayor Christian Estrosi. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR

Socialist politicians accused the right-wing mayor of Nice of “practically calling for pogroms” after he called on his fellow mayors to “revolt” against travellers’ camps in their towns. Christian Estrosi, who is also an MP, also declared that Islam is “absolutely not” compatible with democracy in an interview on Sunday.

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Estrosi told journalists that he would send his colleagues tips on how to drive travellers off illegally occupied land, citing the illegal occupation of two football grounds by travellers in the Riviera city this year.

Accusing the Socialist government of leaving local authorities to their own devices in handling travellers’ camps, Estrosi explained that he had “brought them to heel” by a number of measures.

They included videosureveillance of their movements on the football grounds and in the town, collecting car registration numbers and threatening to impound vehicles and sell them to “reimburse what Niçois and French taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay”.

He claimed that the town faced a bill of 620,000 euros after the occupation of the football grounds.

The Interior Ministry on Monday said that the situation had already been sorted out and denied that their were any illegal occupations of land in Nice or elsewhere in France.

“This is practically a call for pogroms,” declared Socialist Party spokesperson Eduardo Rihan-Cypel after Estrosi’s comments hit the headlines. “These are the words of a militia chief and not of an elected representative worthy of the republic.”

Estrosi was reacting to a threat from the far-right Front National in next year’s municipal elections, he claimed.

Towns Minister François Lamy on Monday dubbed the statement “imbecilic and dangerous”.

In the same interview Estrosi slammed President François Hollande’s statement on a visit to Tunisia that Islam is compatible with democracy.

 

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