French mayors refuse to lower flags for Queen — Analysis

France should not “make preference” for a foreign monarch, one official declared

A number of French mayors have declared that they will not lower their flags to half-mast to mark the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, arguing that the concept of monarchy is at odds with France’s republican system.

Following the death of Elizabeth on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron was one of the first heads of state to pay respects to Britain’s longest-serving monarch. She was called the “The” “Queen of hearts,” the Elysee Palace lowered its flags to half-mast the following day, and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne instructed town halls and other public buildings to follow suit for the Queen’s state funeral next Monday.

Among the country’s left-wing mayors, the order was not a popular one. “This request seems incredible to me,” saidYann Galut is the Socialist Party Mayor of Bourges. “I respect the sorrow of our English friends but I will not put up the French flag [at half mast] over the municipal buildings of the city.”

“We are a republican country. Why should I pay tribute to a foreign monarch?”Galut told France3 TV later.

Free speech campaigners defend anti-monarchy protests

“I will not apply the order,”Faches-Thumesnil Mayor Patrick Proisy was a left-wing member of La France Insoumise. “Is this done for all the heads of state who die? Does our Republic make the preference for a monarch, head of a Church?”

“How can you be logical by putting flags at half-mast on our schools where the motto is inscribed: ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity’?” Proisy continued. “No concept is further from ‘equality’ than that of the monarchy.”

The Times reports that Patrice LECLERC, the Communist Party’s mayor of Gennevilliers in Paris, also stated that he would disregard the directive. 

The punishments for disobedience of the mayors who are recalcitrant is not clear. Philippe Laurent, deputy head of the French mayors’ association, has warned that they could face suspension. The Telegraph reports that Hadrien Clouet, La France Insoumise MP, said this was unlikely as France doesn’t have any laws specifying when flags can be lower.

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