After Béziers, justice orders the withdrawal of the nursery from the town hall of Perpignan


A week after that of Béziers, in the Hérault, justice ordered on Wednesday the withdrawal "within 24 hours" of the Christmas crib installed in the town hall of Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales) by the mayor Rassemblement National ( RN) Louis Aliot.

Seized as the previous week by the League of Human Rights (LDH) in summary proceedings, the administrative court of Montpellier ordered the municipality of Perpignan to "remove the nativity scene, or pessebre (in Catalan language, Ed)”, under penalty of a penalty of “one hundred euros per day of delay”, according to a decision rendered less than 24 hours after hearing the parties.

“It is a nativity scene with Joseph, Mary, the Three Kings which show that we are indeed in a Catholic nativity scene, contrary to the law of 1905” of separation of Churches and State, had pleaded Tuesday Sophie Mazas, lawyer and president of the LDH of Hérault.

“We are truly in the tradition”, retorted the lawyer of the city, Delphine Joubes, underlining that the crib had been erected in a “patio” of the town hall “dedicated to Catalanity” and by which “ people who wish to come to the town hall for administrative procedures do not pass”.

The conclusions of the town hall "are rejected", briefly indicated the administrative court, whose precise motivation will be known later.

Louis Aliot, figure of the RN, and Robert Ménard, mayor of Béziers close to this party, "think they can violate the law and the Constitution with impunity", reacted to AFP Me Mazas, judging "problematic" that the prefects of Hérault and Pyrénées-Orientales did "not react" to "enforce the law".

The head of the LDH also denounces “the instrumentalization of religion by the far right for political ends”. "The strength of secularism is the freedom of everyone to live their belief personally and in the places of worship provided for this purpose: the crèche in the church, the civil status and the management of the city at the town hall,” she added.

The mayor of Perpignan immediately threw the ball back to him: “Unfortunately, the Human Rights League and several political organizations have decided to exploit the secularism of the Republic and administrative justice to obstruct the expression of our traditions. , of our legacies and more generally to prevent us from being what we are, ”wrote Louis Aliot in a press release.

The unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the RN denounces a “decision in total discrepancy with the popular enthusiasm and the wonder aroused by the pessebre”, admired according to him by “thousands of people” since November 25.

During a press conference, Louis Aliot added that he would seize the Council of State to appeal this decision, which according to him arouses "a certain emotion among the population of Perpignan".

The crèche, deemed non-transportable by the town hall, will remain in the town hall and will be dismantled at the start of the school year in January, he said, specifying that "the elected officials have decided to participate in the settlement of legal penalties".

The crèches in Beaucaire (Gard) and Béziers are regularly the subject of legal proceedings, but continue to be installed each year by the mayors.

On November 16, the Council of State confirmed the ban on that of Beaucaire, led by the far-right mayor Julien Sanchez.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

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