Statue of Saint Michael must disappear, French judge rules
The Western French municipality of Les Sables-d'Olonne has six months to remove the statue of Saint Michael from a square in the name of secularism. A judge ruled this last week after a complaint lodged by a group of freethinkers.
A statue of Saint Michael has no place in the Place Saint-Michel, in the Saint-Michel district next to Rue Saint-Michel and the Saint-Michel church. In this ironic way, the French website famille chrétienne described the decision of the administrative court of Nantes on 16 December, giving the municipality of Les Sables d'Olonne six months to remove a bronze statue of the archangel slaying the dragon.
The court case followed after the "Fédération de la Libre-Pensée de Vendée" –Federation of Free Thought of Vendee, the department in which Les Sables-d'Olonne is situated– objected to the presence of the statue. The secular association filed a complaint about violation of the 1905 secularism law when the former mayor of the commune inaugurated this statue of Saint Michael on 6 October 2018.
The court considered that the statue's presence indeed violated the 1905 law prohibiting the display of a religious sign or emblem on a public place (except for cemeteries and the outbuildings religious buildings).
Statue Saint Michel : La ville des Sables d’Olonne ne se laissera pas faire !— Yannick MOREAU ن (@YannickMOREAU) December 16, 2021
Retrouvez mon communiqué de presse suite à la décision du TA de Nantes ⬇️⬇️ #CancelCulture #SaintMichel #Vendee #Lessablesdolonne pic.twitter.com/wR4pScCZqV
"The town will not let this happen," said the current mayor of Les Sables d'Olonne, Yannick Moreau, on Twitter on 16 December after the court ruling. He announced in a statement that the town would appeal. "The courts of our country have other things to do than to investigate the abusive demands of radical secularists who are accomplices of the 'cancel culture' and who seek to dismantle one by one the thousand-year-old cultural attachments that have forged our collective identity", inveighed the right-wing politician.
According to the website Actu.fr, a demonstration against the removal of the statue took place on Saturday in Les Sables-d'Olonne. "Don't touch our statues" was the message on the banner held by about fifty demonstrators.
Une centaine de personnes mobilisées pour défendre la statue de saint Michel pic.twitter.com/3Qe8uq2YHq— Iris BRIDIER (@IrisBridier) December 18, 2021
The former French politician Philippe de Villiers also commented on the issue. Asked whether he found it anecdotal or revealing, he said to the journalists of Cnews: "It is very revealing; it is no longer the minorities who are taking down the statues, it is the judges, the judges of Brussels and the judges of France."
"It is the elites, the elites who only think of erasing themselves and who live in repentance", the former leader of the right-wing "Mouvement pour la France" (Movement for France) continued. "Whereas French youth say: "Give us back France", Le Reporter sablais wrote.
Villiers, who last week declared his support for French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, has his home base in the Vendee.