Christmas spirit must have been in short supply when the decision was taken to put cages up to stop homeless people being able to use benches in a French city.
And the bizarre decision to put metal fencing around the seating in the Angouleme district on Christmas Eve has left people angered and confused.
Très bon: “Les aventures de Tintin, SDF à #Angoulême” (via @NicoSene) #BancsAntiSDF cc @xavierbonnefont pic.twitter.com/wk9GYVKhtX
— Sébastien Marcelle (@SebM_DDM) December 26, 2014
The cages mean that not only can rough sleepers not use them – but no one else can either.
Scores of people took to social media to call for the fencing in the Champ de Mars square to be torn down.
Re: Anti-homeless cages..!! “@MassDeception1: pic.twitter.com/utMUlwlYZE” @France @AFP @afpfr @martinhume @ggreenwald @rConflictNews
— minette (@MinetteJohnson) December 27, 2014
Xavier Bonnefont, the city’s right wing mayor, initially defended the initiative, and his deputy Joel Guitton claimed the benches were used ‘almost exclusively by people who consume alcohol on a regular basis’.
But Angouleme’s council appears to have temporarily backtracked on the decision following the outcry.
The cages have been removed, but the mayor of the council, Xavier Bonnefont, told Euro News that no final decision had yet been made.
Shameful… French town puts anti-homeless cages on public benches http://t.co/UQlJoOShCT pic.twitter.com/ERjXnGpYyi
— Kelsey (@kelsey_feed) December 25, 2014
He told the news website: “We will continue to reflect on this in January with the shopkeepers and the residents of Champs de Mars square, in order to find a satisfactory solution.”
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