Insulting a mayor to become a criminal offence, French Justice Minister says

Any insult targeted at a French mayor will now be treated as contempt - an offence that carries a maximum penalty of community service or a €7,500 fine - France's justice minister has announced.

Insulting a mayor to become a criminal offence, French Justice Minister says
French Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti leaving the Elysée. Photo: AFP

“Any attack perpetuated against a mayor is an attack perpetuated against the Republic”, warned French Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti on Wednesday after a ministerial meeting to which local mayor associations were invited, according to BFMTV.

As France is facing increasing violent behaviour targeted towards its elected representatives, he announced that insulting a mayor would now be treated as an offence of contempt, whereas before it was qualified as an “insult”.

The offence of contempt carries a maximum penalty of community service of up to 280 hours or a maximum fine of €7,500 under French law.

The Minister said he will put the idea to the public prosecutor’s department because “a mayor who is insulted is a mayor who, in legal terms, is abused”.

Local councillors have previously criticised the French justice system for being to slow when it came to them being assaulted.

Eric Dupont-Moretti promised that from now on there will be “a systematic, immediate and proportionate answer” to any aggression.

According to the latest numbers published by l’Association des maires de France, at least 233 mayors were attacked from January to July 2020. They were 383 in 2019 and 361 in 2018. 

Mayors are hugely important within the French political system, they have wide-ranging powers and represent a wide range of communities, from small villages to jobs with a multi-million euro annual budget such as the Mayor of Paris. 

READ ALSO Why village mayors are so important in France

Meanwhile the mairie of Lhéraule (a small town in Picardie in northern France) made good manners compulsory in 2012 and you can be removed from the premises if you don’t greet staff politely with a bonjour or if you don’t say “please” during your exchange. Read the full story here


Member comments

  1. Hmmm…seems to be an attempt to avert criticism…how does the Republic improve if bad behaviour and poor performance cannot be pointed out, commented on?

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Paris police warn tourists about ‘petition’ scam

Paris police have issued a warning to tourists to beware of scams targeting visitors that involve false petitions and donation drives.

Paris police warn tourists about 'petition' scam

The police préfecture in Paris has released an announcement warning tourists about a scam that might be used to target them especially. 

The scam involves young boys and girls asking people to sign their petitions and requesting that they give a donation. In reality, many people – especially tourists or those unfamiliar with the local area – find themselves giving their money away to a false organisation.

In other cases, the petition acts as a distraction while pickpockets target the visitors.

Frequently, these scams involve the young people feigning deafness or the inability to speak, and pretending to collect funds on behalf of NGO for the hard of hearing. 

The scam is just one of a number that criminals use to prey on tourists, and visitors return to Paris after a two-year break, police are warning people to be vigilant – especially in tourist hotspots such as Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower area or in transport interchanges such as Gare du Nord.

READ MORE: Warning: 6 of the most common scams in France to watch out for

For more advice on how to stay safe in Paris as a tourist, you can read the police “Guide for Staying Safe in Paris