09:19 GMT13 August 2020
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    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)

    Anti-immigrants placards appeared recently in numerous public places in the French town of Beziers. The initiative by the city’s mayor Robert Menard has sparked public outrage and lead to an investigation by the authorities.

    The Beziers prosecutor office has launched a preliminary probe into the banner campaign.

    "The government committee against racism and anti-Semitism will send a delegation to Beziers. It will assess the situation and decide whether those facts provoke or not discrimination and racism," the prosecutor office said in a statement cited by Infos-H24 news website.

    The banner campaign was initiated by the town’s authorities, led by far-right mayor Robert Menard, who is close to the National Front nationalist movement.

    "They have arrived. Migrants are in the center of our town," one can read on posters across Beziers.

    The picture shows a crowd of black and swarthy people with beards and hoods on their heads in front of the Beziers Cathedral. The writing above reads: "The government imposes them on us."

    Beziers is a small town in southern France with a population nearly 73,000. The French government plans to build a center for migrants in the town.

    A couple stands behind a fence as refugees and migrants wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Gevgelija on March 3, 2016.
    © AFP 2020 / Dimitar Dilkoff
    In September, the government announced plans to create centers to house the 12,000 migrants who will be evacuated from the illegal camp in Calais. The centers will be built all across France, except in Paris and Corsica.

    Menard has opposed the construction of the new migrant center in his town.

    "They are doing this while the local authorities have been working for two years to renovate the city center. This will be a serious problem for the region," the mayor said last week.

    When the government plan was announced in September, the populist mayor said he did not want his town to be turned into a "small Calais."

    In an interview with Sputnik, he blamed the French government for its inability to resolve migration-related problems.

    "So the government offers to 'distribute' the problem throughout France, but I do not want to grapple with this problem because I have already enough migrants [and don't need] to take in more of them. Earlier I opposed the arrival of Syrian 'refugees' in Beziers, and now I do not want Calais migrants to come to my city which is poor enough and which has other problems to deal with," he said.

    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)


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    racism, migrant crisis, Beziers, France
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