Robert MÃ©nard, the conservative mayor of BÃ©ziers, a town in Languedoc in the south of France, has again upset the French establishment leftist clerisy by announcing that, starting at the beginning of this month, his municipal police will all be packing heat.
(MÃ©nard had previously introduced several measures thought to be directed at Muslim immigrants which provoked passionate left-wing opposition, including a ban on drying laundry on balconies and a ban on the installation of satellite dishes on the sides of buildings, the prohibition of spitting in the street, and a curfew for minors.)
The Telegraph quotes French newspapers, detailing the cries of indignation at this kind of Americanization of French “surrender monkey” culture.
A controversial far-right mayor in France has been accused of turning the local police force into “Dirty Harry” after a poster campaign trumpeted their “new friend”: a 7.65-calibre handgun.
Billboards throughout central BÃ©ziers, southwestern France, feature large pictures of the semi-automatic weapon with the caption: “From now on, the municipal police has a new friend.”
Municipal police in France are allowed to carry arms, but the campaign has been criticised for promoting gun culture.
“BÃ©ziers, it’s the wild west, with its cowboys,” wrote one Twitter user, Sofia.
Another, called Loljak, tweeted: “BÃ©ziers cops have turned into Dirty Harry”, referring to the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood as detective “Dirty” Harry Callahan.
Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, called the posters “deliberately provocative”. He said: “The best friends of the police are not their weapons â€¦ but the French citizens who respect republican values.”
The decision to arm local police followed a national debate on whether all French police should be armed with lethal weapons after Clarissa Jean-Philippe, an unarmed municipal officer, was gunned down by Islamist terrorists during the Paris attacks in January that killed 17 people.
All this fuss over cops carrying a Beretta 92 chambered in the antiquated and anemic .32 ACP/7.65 Browning cartridge.