French govt. threatens to punish military officials critical of Macron
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 27 April 2021 6:29 PM
The French government has threatened to punish the military officials and servicemen that signed a letter criticizing President Emmanuel Macron's policies toward the country's refugee crisis, social security, and the Muslim world.
The open letter, written by 25 retired generals last week and signed by an unspecified number of serving defense force members, warned the French president that the country was headed for "civil war," and said his "laxist" policies would result in chaos requiring "the intervention of our comrades on active duty in a perilous mission of protection of our civilization values."
"France is in peril," the retired generals proclaimed, adding that the failure to duly implement immigration policies and deal with religious minority groups would plunge the country into a violent conflict with "thousands" of deaths.
The French government and left-wing parties strongly condemned the letter, with Defense Minister Florence Parly warning on Monday that the signatories would be punished for flouting a law requiring the country's military forces to remain politically neutral.
The developments come as French presidential hopefuls have started campaigning on such issues as immigration, security, and minority groups in the run-up to the 2022 election.
An Ifop poll published in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday showed security and the fight against terrorism were among voters' top priorities.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who polls show is likely to face off against Macron next year, voiced support for the retired generals and their letter, saying she shared their sentiments and invited them to back her campaign.
France has joined other European states in taking a tough stance on refugees since 2011.
Thousands of refugees have in recent years traveled from the capital, Paris, to the northern port of Calais and attempted to stow away on trucks heading across the Channel to England.
Separately, inflammatory remarks by the French president against the religion of Islam and legislation proposed by his government to crack down on minorities have raised fears that the Muslim community in France may be disenfranchised.
Macron recently described Islam as a religion "in crisis" and declared war on "Islamist separatism," which he claimed was taking over France's estimated six-million-strong Muslim population.
The comments have angered not only the Muslim community in France, but all Islamic nations, leading to protests, boycott calls, and diplomatic condemnations in the Middle East and the broader Muslim world.
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