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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-15

The new Green Party (EELV) mayor of the south-eastern French city of Grenoble does not like CCTV cameras – and joked this week that he may “sell them off” to his conservative counterpart in Nice, an outspoken supporter of greater surveillance.

Eric Piolle broke 19 years of Socialist rule when he was elected mayor at the end of March.

His priorities include halting plans to arm local police officers (only national police and France’s Gendarmerie, a police force that is a branch of the military, are routinely armed) and an immediate freeze on new CCTV surveillance cameras in the city.

Piolle argues that the cameras are expensive, not significantly reduce crime and are not value for money.

The mayor ultimately wants to scrap CCTV altogether and a debate at city hall on the issue is due to start this year.

Talking on France 3 Television, Piolle said the 18 cameras used by the city authorities had cost 700,000 euros to buy, install and run and stated that they had “not proved their worth”.and run. They had “not proved their worth”, he said.

“We could very well sell them to [Nice Mayor] Christian Estrosi,” he joked, referring to the conservative leader of the Riviera city who has installed more than 700 CCTV cameras. “It seems he wants as many cameras as he can get hold of.”

In an interview with French daily 20 Minutes on Wednesday, Piolle said he supported his party’s boycott of the government of newly-appointed Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who he said was “too right wing”.

“This is not a government that is going to be sensitive to the environment and Valls’s appointment is a move in the wrong direction,” said the member of a party that was a coalition partner with the ruling Social Party since the beginning of President François Hollande’s mandate in 2012.

This week the Green party said it would refuse any cabinet appointments in protest at Valls’s nomination.

“It’s a question of balance,” said Piolle. “Valls’s political stance is clearly to the right of most of the Socialist Party. His ideas are extremely [economically] liberal and overly focused on security.”

Date created : 2014-04-04


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