Emmanuel Macron faces revolt: French Mayors defy President over ‘inhumane’ restrictions

Paris: Yellow Vest protesters march against Macron's policies

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According to Politico, the temperature rose a little yesterday afternoon between the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Emmanuel Macron’s government. At the end of a day of consultation with French mayors, the prefect of police, the regional prefect and the ARS, Paris’ city councillor called a press conference during which she assured that the government – via the prefect, therefore – had offered her a lockdown of the capital on weekends.

A proposal Ms Hidalgo described as “difficult, harsh, even inhumane”, just over three days after her first deputy, Emmanuel Grégoire, announced that the city was considering advocating for, among other measures, a full three-week lockdown.

Earlier in the day, before the district mayors video meeting, the number two of the Town Hall apologised for his “hasty statement”, according to Le Parisien.

This did not prevent Ms Hidalgo from speaking about “fake news” during her press conference.

Her comments sparked the fury of Mr Macron’s government.

An adviser to the Health Minister said: “Now is the time to be serious.

“Would full lockdown be more humane than weekend lockdown? This is anything but the time for politics!”

But the Paris Mayor rejected the supposed proposal nonetheless.

In another blow to the French leader, the mayor of Chalon-sur-Saône also authorised a funfair in his town from March 5 to 14 despite the prefectural ban.

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Gilles Platret, mayor of Chalon-sur-Saône and LR regional leader for Burgundy-Franche-Comté, gave the green light this Monday, March 1 to the traditional funfair in his city, defying a prefectural ban linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A press release from the Town Hall read: “The City of Chalon estimated that sanitary conditions are now met and that is why, this Monday morning, Gilles Platret signed a decree authorising the funfair from March 5 to 14.”

At the beginning of February, Gilles Platret had already threatened “not to stop there” when the prefecture of Saône-et-Loire had announced the ban on the traditional funfair “without any consultation”.

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“I don’t know when this will end, but it is an intolerable situation”, he reacted, assuring that, for him, the funfair was “not cancelled”.

According to the mayor, the decree signed on Monday is based “on two complementary needs: that of fighting the epidemic crisis with appropriate measures that the showmen are quite willing to take, but also the need to fight against the heavy psychological crisis which is the consequence both of the epidemic crisis and of all the restrictive measures imposed.”

He concluded: “The state will take its responsibilities.”

He acknowledged that the order can be appealed.

However, the prefecture of Saône-et-Loire did not wish to react immediately.

Known for his outspokenness and his mistrust of the current government, Gilles Platret had already authorised the opening of non-food businesses in his town at the end of October, thus defying their nationally decreed closure.

The municipal decree was challenged by the courts.

Congratulating the rebel mayor, Les Patriotes leader Florian Philippot tweeted: “Bravo to the mayor of Chalon-sur-Saône who authorises the funfair in his town despite the (silly) instructions from the State!

“We need these small combined acts of resistance and common sense!”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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