The director of a Paris theatre was arrested on Thursday after driving his car into the gates of the Elysée Palace, the French president’s Paris residence, in an apparent protest against cuts to state subsidies for theatres.
The man, an Italian national who was not named, "only succeeded in lightly hitting the gates at slow speed," a police source said.
"He was immediately arrested and placed in custody," the source added.
The 67-year-old director of the Comédie Italienne, a small playhouse in the French capital’s Montparnasse theatre district, was later taken to hospital after sustaining light injuries in the incident, according to French daily Le Monde.
Other police sources told the AFP news agency that the man had staged another protest outside the presidential palace a few days ago, setting fire to the model of a harlequin and scattering leaflets on the road in protest at a cut in subsidies for his theatre.
Paris is home to more than 130 theatres, many of which survive thanks to generous state subsidies, part of long-standing efforts to protect France’s “cultural exception”.
But some of those subsidies are being slashed amid attempts to rein in France’s spiralling budget deficit, which hit 4.8% of GDP in 2012.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2013-12-26