Several elected officials from Loiret on Thursday called on the State to "take its responsibilities" in the face of the nuisances suffered by residents of an annual gathering of some 40.000 travelers who are members of an evangelical association in Nevoy (Loiret), on land which usually accommodates half of them.
"Before the Covid, we had between 15.000 and 20.000 pilgrims. (...) 40.000, that creates a lot of nuisance. We are not equipped to receive so many people. The population is overwhelmed, there will be a tragedy one day", noted the DVC mayor of Gien, near Nevoy, Francis Cammal.
"It's total anarchy", regretted the elected official, referring to wild connections to the water and electricity networks, as well as participants doing their business in the paths, green spaces and private land of the agglomeration. The annual gathering of the evangelical association Life and Light is to be held until Sunday.
"People do not understand that we let it happen, but we do not have the hand. The State must take its responsibilities to reduce the number of participants. 40.000, it is not manageable"
On Tuesday, this situation almost degenerated, according to Mr. Cammal: an octogenarian was arrested after shooting in the air towards a group of travelers entering his land to relieve themselves, he said. affirmed.
In police custody, the man "indicated having shot in the air, without intention of hurting anyone", confirmed the public prosecutor of Montargis Jean-Cédric Gaux. "There are no injuries" and the octogenarian will be tried in November for "violence with a weapon, without incapacity".
4.000 roadside checks
“Do not wait for a tragedy before acting”, asked the State the deputy RN of Loiret Mathilde Paris.
"What comes back are the droppings. (...) If there weren't that, I think it would pass"
"Gien has 13.000 inhabitants: 40.000 people who suddenly land, the city is not able to absorb", estimates the elected, also asking the State to establish a gauge in the future.
The prefect of Loiret Régine Engström went there on Wednesday. The prefecture said Thursday that the device had 250 gendarmes to supervise 38.000 participants.
The military carried out nearly 4.000 vehicle checks, noted 177 traffic offenses and issued 56 fines for abandoning waste, said the prefecture.
On the side of Life and Light, Joseph Charpentier described a much less gloomy situation.
"It is certain that whatever the nature of the pilgrims, 40.000 participants in a small rural town, it creates an embarrassment. (...) The Giennois is not on fire and blood either. There are 250 gendarmes present. It is not organized anarchically"
Regarding the health aspect, the pastor explained that he had installed a hundred toilets on the association's grounds.
"I have a team of 12 people listening to mayors and local residents, who will clean on demand when land is soiled"
Editorial staff with AFP
Image credit: Shutterstock / Heather A Phillips