Make every effort to preserve a religious symbol in the public square. More than 500 people, according to the prefecture and the organizers, marched this Saturday in Sables d’Olonne (Vendée) to defend the statue of the Archangel Saint-Michel, whose presence in a town square is prohibited by law. from 1905 of separation of the churches and the state.
The demonstration, which according to the prefecture was peaceful, was organized by an association of Sablais paratroopers, of which Saint Michel is the patron, with the support of the city. For the organizers it was “Fire Saint-Michel and defend their traditions, their patron, in a secular and apolitical approach”and team “a ceremony that was intended to be popular and patriotic”explains the municipality.
In the procession, at the start of the march, were standard bearers, paratroopers from the region, elected officials and citizens. “Participants walked along the street that goes from Place Liberté to Place Saint-Michel, where the statue is installed. The organizers continued to raise the colors and sing the Marseillaise”says the municipality.
Against the “cancellation culture”
Seized by a secular association of La Roche-sur-Yon – National Federation of Free Thought, as opposed to possibly “intervention of religions in public affairs” –the administrative appeals court of Nantes confirmed in September that the presence of the statue, a “religious emblem”, in a public square in Les Sables is prohibited by law and had to be removed. First built on the grounds of a private school in 1935, according to Le Figarothe statue was then installed in the new forecourt of the Saint-Michel church on 6 October 2018. It had been blessed by a Catholic priest.
The municipality, which seized the State Council, had assured that it would “do everything to convince the highest administrative court that this statue has its place in the heart of the Saint-Michel district, of which it is the emblem”. In a press release, the Vendeans are encouraged to “a popular march against cancellation culture”the mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne Yannick Moreau (right) explains that he wants to defend a statue “that an association would like to disband”. In a speech on Saturday, he said he came to defend “part of our heritage, our culture, our history and our Sablaise story”said the municipality.
It is not the first time that the National Association for Free Thought, which also campaigns against setting up nativity scenes in town halls, has protested against setting up statues. These lawsuits for the removal of religious statues from public space, which have borne fruit in Ploërmel (Morbihan), Publier (Haute-Savoie) and Saint-Pierre-d’Alvey (Savoie) and are still ongoing following calls from the municipalities of Cogolin (Was) and therefore in Sables-d’Olonne (Vendée), has served “insults from the far right” to Christian Eyschen, its general secretary, as he explained Released in March.
According to a vote organized in March by the town hall of Les Sables d’Olonne among the inhabitants, a very large majority (94.51%) of the 4,593 voters – out of 45,030 inhabitants – said she was in favor of keeping the statue. The Reconquest Candidate! at the last presidential election, Eric Zemmour had also remembered on Twitter that he had come“resist the annihilation of our culture in front of the statue of Saint-Michel”condemning “judges against democracy and against France”.