As France tries to grapple with the reality of three major terror attacks in the past year even as its government asks it to accept 24,000 more migrants, as required by the European Union, mayors around the country are stepping up to say “Non.”

Out of 36,000 mayors, only 600 have agreed to house the migrants, which represents the conflicting views in the country about how best to deal with the mass migration from Syria and the Middle East while protecting French citizens from attacks on their safety and their culture and way of life.

Now, Robert Ménard, the mayor of Béziers, an impoverished medieval city of 70,000 on the French Riviera has taken steps to protect the citizens and culture he loves.

“There is a majority of the Muslim population that is incapable of living within the norms of this country. I love this country. The identity of this city is not a Muslim identity.”

Claiming that Béziers and France itself are “in a state of emergency,” the mayor has acted to ensure public safety first.

“Every day I receive demands from people at schools, commercial centers and crossing points, I have already doubled the number of city policemen, but I went even further – I asked all the former policemen, firefighters and servicemen to come and help to protect our citizens.”

Noting that he has been criticized as being “Islamaphobic,” Ménard says, “If my initiative is against the law, we should change the law.”

The countries of central Europe are seeing the largest migration since World War II and the stress the massive human influx has brought on social services, infrastructure, housing and the vetting process has created a surge in the popularity of French Nationalist politicians like Marine Le Pen.

The popular mayor drew attention to the European-wide problems, as well as those in his own city, saying, “I do not want to shelter more refugees in my city and this is also the choice the country is making. Our country, as well as other European countries is at war both outside our borders in Syria for instance and inside our borders because our enemies live in our own country.”

France has suffered three serious terror attacks in the past year, the first coming with the January assaults in Paris at the headquarters of satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and a Jewish delicatessen.

In August, an attack on a train was narrowly foiled by three Americans and on November 13, a series of well-coordinated attacks in Paris left 130 dead and hundreds more injured.

The most recent acts of violence perpetrated by Islamic jihadists were directed at ordinary citizens eating at an outdoor café, a restaurant and bar, spectators at sports stadium during a soccer game and concert-goers at a popular venue while an American band was performing onstage.

Referring to the upcoming elections in France, Ménard added, “We need to change people who are running the region and, in the future, in 2017, change the people who are running the country.”

 

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