Ajaccio, separatist guerrillas on the street

Ajaccio, separatist guerrillas on the street

In Corsica it is storm again. After years of apparent calm, the protest has just re-exploded on the large Mediterranean and French island, which has always been innervated by independentist impulses. Riots have broken out in recent days and others are threatening to explode tomorrow, a day of demonstrations planned in Bastia.

The spark of the nationalist agitation this time was the attack in the Arles prison of Yvan Colonna, sentenced to life imprisonment in 2007 and detained in Provence for the murder of the prefect Claude Erignac, killed in 1998 in Ajaccio. Colonna, now in very serious condition, was almost strangled nine days ago by Franck Elong Abe, a 35-year-old Islamist who would have heard blasphemous expressions from him. The attacker was indicted for attempted murder with a hypothesis that also recalls the terrorist matrix, but this has not stopped the anger.

On Sunday thousands of people gathered to protest, praising Colonna and accusing the French state. The demonstration (4,200 people according to the police, 15,000 according to the promoters) ended with scuffles and dozens of people arrested. The French state “is not a murderer” said prefect Amaury de Saint-Quentin. “Today-his appeal-the emergency consists in reconnecting the dialogue with all the actors of the territory and rediscovering the path of calm”. In the night between Wednesday and Thursday, other protests were held with hundreds of activists in the square, fires started, a raid on the courthouse and an assault on a French bank.

The ever-latent tensions on the island have a very ancient origin. Corsica today is a renowned tourist destination and has 300,000 inhabitants, many of them French. Less than half are the courses proper, many of which culturally consider themselves “other” and still speak their own language, a neo-Latin language related to the Tuscan. The nationalist galaxy, in turn divided into more or less extremist positions, has always lamented the centralist oppression of Paris, an oppression painted with the features of ethnic discrimination in the most dramatic passages in French history. President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to Corsica in 2019, was “welcomed” by a “dead” and hostile island, flagged but practically closed due to strikes, lockouts, delays and inefficiencies.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.