The resigning mayor of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins was heard before the Senate and then received by Élisabeth Borne on Wednesday. He denounced a “criminal attack” after the fire in his house.

[Updated May 17, 2023 10:33 PM] “My political career ends today”. After meeting Élisabeth Borne in Matignon on Wednesday, the resigning mayor of Saint-Brévin-les-Pins (Loire-Atlantique) Yannick Morez confirmed his resignation and called for “stopping the infernal spiral” of violence against elected officials. “Since this morning, they have tried to convince me to stay but no, I can’t. It’s a decision that was taken with my relatives, with my family,” he said. The departure of the mayor of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins has not yet been recorded by the prefecture of Loire-Atlantique, on the orders of the Prime Minister. After the announcement of the resignation, the tenant of Matignon had reacted judging “what happened is very shocking”. She had promised to “strengthen” state action to “better protect mayors”.

“I think it will shake things up,” he said. After the resignation, “I didn’t expect it to get so big. I felt like I was caught in a whirlwind,” said the mayor, who claims to have received “a lot of messages from support”. The mayor of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, who mentioned “the lack of state support” among the reasons for his resignation, told the Senate that he had “thought carefully” after going into detail about his unfortunate experience between the threats he had endured for years and until the arson attack that targeted his home on March 22.

Mayor Yannick Morez’s troubles began in 2016, shortly after the installation of a reception center for asylum seekers (Cada) in the town of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins. But everything has accelerated in recent months with the project of transferring the establishment near a school. The strength of the opposition reaching a new level with the arrival of far-right activists, the very people who seem to be behind the threats and potentially the burning of the house of the city councilor. Faced with this problem, which has been present for years, the state services have not reacted, assured Yannick Morez before the Senate Law Commission on Wednesday May 17.

After reporting the threats, “the sub-prefect simply told us” you know, I have threats every day “, testified the mayor various right remembering to have been” very annoyed and shocked “by these remarks , notes Le Monde. “We realized that we found ourselves totally helpless, alone, abandoned by the services of the State, and that we were going to have to continue to face the rise in power of this collective”, a- he continued, insisting on the “flagrant” lack of support from the state. However, the prefecture maintained the opposite, declaring that it had been present alongside the mayor and had organized public meetings. Shameless lies according to Yannick Morez: “It knows very well that he did not organize a public meeting, we have all the evidence. Just ask him (…) the date, he won’t be able to provide one, he hasn’t made one”.

As for the summit of the State, it is based on a letter sent to the city council by Emmanuel Macron on April 3 in which the Head of State assured to stand “alongside the elected representatives of our country in order to assure them the best conditions for exercising their mandates” to defend themselves. “I strongly condemn the facts of which you have been the victim”, wrote the President again, but this late support is not enough for Yannick Morez.

If the mayor of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins felt abandoned by the state, he can count on the Socialist Party and the Association of French Mayors (AMF) who called for a symbolic march in support of Yannick Morez, May 24. At the microphone of BFMTV, the first deputy secretary of the PS and mayor of Nantes, Johanna Rolland, judged that “an elected official should never be forced to choose between protecting his family and exercising his public mandate”. Yannick Morez had been a member of the city council for 15 years, mayor for 6 years and lived in the commune for 32 years. Not only to resign from his duties, he also wishes to leave Saint-Brevin-Les-Pins.

The AMF denounced a few hours after the announcement of the resignation of Yannick Morez “an umpteenth manifestation of the violence that elected officials must increasingly face”. She also called for an urgent response “at the height of the stakes”.

Yannick Morez announced on May 11, 2023 his resignation as mayor of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, a commune in Loire Atlantique. “Personal reasons” were mentioned, but the threats from far-right activists that the city councilor had suffered for several years are not unrelated to this decision, any more than the arson attack which targeted his house on March 22, 2023 when that the man and his wife were sleeping. At the origin of these threats is a project criticized since its inception: the installation and then the transfer of a reception center for asylum seekers (Cada).

The far right, including activists close to the National Rally (RN) and then to Reconquête, strongly opposed the infrastructure. The department’s RN manager repeatedly pounded the pavement opposing “mass immigration, which has become flood immigration!” Then the Reconquest party took over the mobilization with a campaign on social networks. Demonstrations of several hundred people took place in the town as on February 25, in the presence of Damien Rieu, close to Éric Zemmour, and activists with neo-Nazi visuals, reports Liberation. Opposite, 1,000 people have also invested the city in support of the Cada project.

The mayor of Saint-Brevin-Les-Pins also cites “lack of state support” among the reasons for his resignation. The man had already challenged the executive on his situation and regrets never having received protection. A lack of response was also noticed by the Senate, which heard Yannick Morez on the morning of May 17 and as part of the fact-finding mission on “the future of the municipality and the mayor in France”.