A Paris mayor has backed military chiefs who warned of radical Islam and the disintegration of France.
Eighteen serving officers who were among the hundreds of retired soldiers who signed the open letter to Emmanuel Macron are to be fired, the country’s armed forces chief confirmed today.
But despite condemnation, politicians on the right like Rachida Dati, mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris, continue to throw their support behind the signatories, who included 20 retired generals.
(Rachida Dati, mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris)
“What is written in this letter is a reality”, Ms Dati told France Info radio.
“When you have a country plagued by urban guerrilla warfare, when you have a constant and high terrorist threat, when you have increasingly glaring and flagrant inequalities … we cannot say that the country is doing well”.
She said that “the police have become a target for terrorists”.
A policewoman was stabbed to death last week in Rambouillet southwest of Paris.
Anti-terror officers said the suspect, a Tunisian national, had been watching jihadist propaganda videos prior to the attack.
Ms Dati continued: “I am afraid that the police will break down one day”.
Referencing the military officers’ letter, she added: “And if they crack, we go well beyond the disintegration of society”.
The 55-year-old served as justice minister under Nicolas Sarkozy from 2007 to 2009.
Raised in a devoutly Muslim household by Algerian immigrant parents, Ms Dati is no stranger to ruffling feathers and has been tipped to run against Macron in 2022.
She is renowned for taking no prisoners, infuriating left-wingers with her law-and-order crackdown as justice minister, and brushing off critics when she decided to take just three days maternity leave after the birth of her daughter.
Asked in September what her plans were over the next two years, Ms Dati told The Times: “To win the 2022 presidential election”.
Her intervention today comes as the Chief of France’s Defence Staff General François Lecointre condemned those who signed the letter, calling it “absolutely revolting”.
“I hope that their automatic retirement will be decided”, Gen. Lecointre told the Parisien newspaper.
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“This is an exceptional procedure, which we are launching immediately at the request of the Minister of the Armed Forces.
“These general officers will each pass before a higher military council. At the end of this procedure, it is the President of the Republic who signs a decree expelling them”.
The 18 serving officers joined thousands of retired ones who had signed an open letter warning that France was heading for civil war because of radical Islam.
It said action was needed to fight the “suburban hordes” – a reference to the predominantly immigrant population of the housing estates which surround French cities – or else there would be “thousands of deaths”.
President Macron’s government strongly condemned the letter.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said the letter by military figures was “against all of our republican principles, of honour and the duty of the army”.
And Florence Parly, the Defence Minister, said: “This is unacceptable. There will be consequences, naturally”.
(Division General Emmanuel De Richoufftz during his visit to the central Ivory Coast area of Sakassou August 29, 2003. Gen. De Richoufftz was also among the 20 generals to sign the letter)
The lead signatory was Christian Piquemal, 80, who commanded the French Foreign Legion before losing his privileges as a retired officer after being arrested while taking part in an anti-Islam demonstration in 2016.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of Rassemblement National (National Rally), welcomed the letter, which was first published last week in Valeurs Actuelle (Current Values) magazine.
“I invite you to join us in taking part in the coming battle, which is the battle of France”, Le Pen wrote in a response to the letter.
There are some five million Muslims in France – the largest community of its kind in western Europe – and many have backgrounds in former colonies, such as Algeria.
-: Daily Mail