As reported in last night’s news feed, yesterday’s French PEGIDA demonstration in Calais was banned by the government out of fear that it would provoke violence. But it went ahead anyway, and a retired army general was arrested for participating in it.
But this wasn’t just any general — this was General Christian Piquemal, the former commander of the Foreign Legion. Immediately before his arrest, Gen. Piquemal gave an interview to “Boulevard Voltaire”, a French online journal.
Below are excerpts from a BBC article about yesterday’s events in Calais:
Former French Foreign Legion Chief Held at Calais PEGIDA Rally
A former French general has been arrested with about 20 other protesters at a banned anti-Islam rally in the city of Calais.
Gen Christian Piquemal, who headed the Legion in the 1990s, was held after scuffles began with police in the northern city.
On Saturday, officials said French police had issued warnings to disperse to about 150 Calais protesters, who waved national flags and sang the anthem in the town centre.
As skirmishes began, the police used tear gas to break up the demonstration.
Gen Piquemal said he was “shocked by the behaviour of the police”.
“There are things that have to be respected, including the national anthem — the Marseillaise — when it is sung,” he told police officers.
“I expected you to be at attention, singing with us but not-one of you opened your mouth. And this is France — the great France, the eternal France, which used to be the lighthouse of the world. It is in decline. Decadent. I regret that you received these orders. You are forced to obey your orders, but you don’t have to behave this way in the field.”
|00:00||Just before his arrest, General Christian Piquemal gave one interview to “Boulevard Voltaire”|
|00:04||Today we have come as|
|00:08||patriotic citizens to defend the grandeur and identity of France,|
|00:12||because we consider her, especially in Calais, threatened.|
|00:16||and our presence here as patriotic citizens is perfectly|
|00:20||justified. The ban issued by the State is perfectly scandalous|
|00:24||because we had given a guaranty, we are men of honour, that there would be|
|00:28||no provocation, no disorder nor any (troublemakers?).|
|00:32||so, the ban, with… gendarmes with whom I have served during 40 years|
|00:36||who are willing to hit patriotic citizens, even|
|00:40||with the ban, and this ban has been issued for fallacious, unacceptable reasons,|
|00:45||and today we are treated like cannibals,|
|00:49||that they can send in police, and what’s more|
|00:53||military, among the gendarmes who treat French citizens like that —|
|00:57||it’s really something absolutely unacceptable, and that’s just a start,|
|01:01||because “France Debout” will stand up, she will stand up.|
|01:05||Things will happen in the coming months, because one cannot accept|
|01:09||the treatment of honorable citizens, of people|
|01:13||who over many years have served France with honor and fidelity,|
|01:17||and who are treated in this manner, it’s absolutely unacceptable. And when I see police who hear the National Anthem|
|01:21||and remain “au repos” when they should have taken the position of “guard à vous” and sung with us, it’s really…|
|01:25||France is dying, France is dying,|
|01:29||this is scandalous. And we will do everything for France to be reborn.|
|01:34||because Eternal France has been a beacon to the world,|
|01:38||and so she must remain. So, today it’s only the start.|
|01:42||they are in the majority now, but they don’t even know what they are defending.|
|01:46||If I were in their ranks, I would be ashamed to do what they are doing, because they are|
|01:50||soldiers supposed to serve the Republic, and they do this work, hit citizens who came|
|01:54||to defend the grandeur of their country, to forbid more than two with our three-colour flag,|
|01:58||a flag which has known blood, tears, heroism,|
|02:02||that was a free France, today it’s|
|02:06||practically, we can say it, scandalously,|
|02:10||it’s a dictatorship. That is a dictatorship and that is not acceptable.|
|02:14||So, the people are sovereign in a democracy and|
|02:18||the power of the people is more important than political power.|
|02:22||And the decision which has been taken is unjust, scandalous…