French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said she would punish members of the military who signed an open letter threatening intervention in the country if President Emmanuel Macron does not act to “eradicate the dangers” that would lead society in a “civil” war.
The text, signed by 20 reserve generals and endorsed by around 1,200 soldiers, was published last week in the right-wing magazine Valeurs Actuelles (current values) on the 60th anniversary of the generals’ alleged coup in April. 1961.
At the time, a group of soldiers, led by four generals, attempted to deliver a coup against then-President Charles de Gaulle because he had decided to give up the colonization of Algeria.
The letter says France is in danger and that the lack of action against Islam and the “suburban hordes” – a reference to the mostly immigrant residents of the outskirts of French cities – will drag the country into a civil war. .
Officials then signal an intervention if Macron does not act to “eradicate the dangers” that would lead the country to decline.
We do not know exactly the political affiliations of all the signatories, but, according to the newspaper Liberation, several of them have links with the RN (National Meeting), an acronym headed by Marine Le Pen, heir to the former National Front. , founded by his father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, at the end of the Algerian war.
The government and left-wing parties vehemently condemned the letter, and Florence Parly said the active military had broken a law that prohibited them from taking a political stand.
“Two immutable principles guide the action of the military in relation to politics: neutrality and loyalty”, wrote the minister on her social networks, even though she declared that “the vast majority” of French troops did not subscribe to the position of the text.
Political analyst Jean-Yves Camus also downplayed the letter’s importance and told AFP news agency that the signatories “were not heavyweights” in the military.
The far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, for her part, expressed her support for the letter and invited the military to “join” her. In an opinion piece in the newspaper Liberation, Parly criticized the candidate’s position, saying that “politicizing the armed forces is an insult” and that it only weakens the country.
In response, Le Pen told France Info on Monday that he did not regret these statements and that the country was plagued by “lawless areas, crime” and “rejection of patriotism” by the leaders of the government, but agreed that “these problems alone can be solved by politics.”
The letter came at a time when France was debating controversial issues, such as security, terrorism and Islamophobia, a topic that gained momentum after a man stabbed a police officer to death in Rambouillet. , about 60 km from Paris, last Friday. (23). The suspect is of Tunisian origin and was shot dead by the police.
France is still preparing for the presidential election of 2022, and a survey conducted by Ifop for the Journal du Dimanche dimanche (25) underlines that security and the fight against terrorism are among the priorities of voters after a new wave attacks, with the beheading of a teacher and the death of three people in a knife attack in the basilica of Nice, in the south of the country, in October.