Controversy in Ariège: when a sentence from the mayor of Lercoul ignites social networks

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For having made virulent remarks against the students supporting Eric Zemmour, François Lafon, the Insoumis mayor of Lercoul, has been the target of violent attacks for several days.

“If some students voted for Macron, Ciotti, Le Pen or even Roussel, I don’t respect them very much… But if some voted for Zemmour, I consider them beasts to be slaughtered.” Such would be, according to the far-right site Boulevard Voltaire, one of the founders of which is none other than the mayor of Béziers Robert Ménard, the remarks made by the LFI mayor of Lercoul François Lafon, on January 25 in front of his students. from the University of Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne.

A professor of contemporary world history with open commitments and a blunt verb, who must now face a wave of attacks on social networks. Hundreds of tweets and retweets, many of them from groups linked to Eric Zemmour or to the far right: Team Zemmour, Generation Z (the young movement of Reconquest!, Eric Zemmour’s party), Western Values , but also private individuals displaying the signs of their membership in various far-right movements.

“I don’t want to become a new Samuel Paty”

If François Lafon’s remarks are violent, the reactions are no less so: “Call to murder”, “despicable remarks”, “Ariège, old communist stronghold, one more garbage to purge”… Only a student dares to defend his teacher , becoming itself the target of virulent reactions.

François Lafon, for his part, prefers “not to throw oil on the fire”, while ensuring to assume all his commitments, he who was notably a candidate for La France insoumise in the last regional elections. “I don’t see why an internal affair at the university would interest anyone, he reacts. My personal address in Paris has been put on social networks, I receive insulting emails, I can’t even use my professional email… I don’t want to become a new Samuel Paty.”

Did he really make the comments that are attributed to him? Neither confirmation nor denial… But an investigation is underway at the University of Paris I, confirms François Lafon, “and I will comply with the decision of the university”. And the case is now bouncing back to Ariège…

Call for resignation… for anti-Semitism

As of Friday January 27, the five other members of the municipal council of Lercoul, a village of only 15 inhabitants nestled at the foot of the Montcalm massif, published a press release to “condemn in the strongest terms the anti-Semitic remarks made on the 25 last January by François Lafon in front of the students of the University of Paris I against Eric Zemmour”, and invite him “to resign immediately, if he understands what the word honor still means”.

An accusation of anti-Semitism that those concerned are struggling to justify by the sentence that they take up, incomplete, from the Boulevard Voltaire site. “We have not quoted all the comments of the student union (the National Inter-University Union or UNI, classified on the far right and at the origin of a request for sanctions against François Lafon, editor’s note), slips with embarrassment Jacques Garcia, François Lafon’s 2nd deputy. But if it’s not anti-Semitic, it’s at least a call for murder.” Not without acknowledging the disagreements between the mayor and his municipal team (read below). “The city council takes the ball, without understanding anything about this affair which concerns only the university”, is content to react François Lafon.

For the time being, the latter has decided, despite his political commitments, not to participate in the mobilization of January 31 against the pension reform. Its municipal council should be received at the prefecture in a few days.

The municipal council of Lercoul at the time of its election.

A “dysfunctional” city council

Nothing to do with the current controversy around the sentence of François Lafon, assures Dominique Fossat, the secretary general of the prefecture of Ariège, about the appointment made on February 6 with the municipal councilors of Lercoul. But everything with a municipal team which, since its election in 2020, has struggled to find normal functioning…

“The municipality and the municipal council have been dysfunctional for some time, indicates Dominique Fossat. They no longer vote anything, the budget has not been adopted, which forces the Regional Chamber of Accounts to remedy this deficiency and the prefecture to regain control It’s a sign of a pretty significant dysfunction.”

This is recognized in his own way by Jacques Garcia, the 2nd deputy of the town, evoking a mayor “who does nothing at all”, from whom all delegations have been withdrawn and a blame inflicted by his own municipal council. “Monsieur took himself for the king, he used the money without asking, even if it was without embezzlement, continues Jacques Garcia. We tried to talk to him, but he is someone who gets angry easily when we don’t disagree with him.”

Dominique Fossat is more balanced and more direct: “The question of resignation arises for all the elected officials of Lercoul, but unrelated to recent events. On a regular basis, I meet the mayor, I meet the elected officials, but separately, to try to see how we can find a normal functioning, or encourage them to resign to organize new elections. For the moment without much success, alas… They are in an opposition, it is irreducible and it is not very coherent .”

But the problem remains: how to renew a municipal team of 7 members, in a village of 15 inhabitants?

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Controversy in Ariège: when a sentence from the mayor of Lercoul ignites social networks

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