Bullets, death threats sent to French finance minister

The sender said two of the bullets were meant for Le Maire and the third for his budget minister. (Reuters)
Updated 11 September 2019

Bullets, death threats sent to French finance minister

  • It was not immediately clear who sent the threats
  • The minister intended to file a complaint with the police

PARIS: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has received three letters containing death threats, including one this week with bullets enclosed, one of his aides said on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear who sent the threats or what their motive was, but the letters had coincided with an increase in violence toward politicians, the aide added.

Anti-government “Yellow Vest” demonstrations unleashed some of the worst rioting in Paris in decades in late 2018 and the first half of this year. Protesters have also vandalized the offices of some ruling-party lawmakers.

“We accept democratic debate, that people might disagree with out policies, but this goes too far,” the aide said. He said the first letter was sent to police in the Basque country city of Bayonne in August, threatening to “pulverise” Le Maire’s summer holiday house during the Aug. 24-27 G7 summit, hosted by France’s president in nearby Biarritz.

The second was sent direct to Le Maire’s residence in Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle, this time threatening to target the minister himself. The Ministry of Finance received a third letter containing three bullets on Tuesday. The sender said two of the bullets were meant for Le Maire and the third for his budget minister, Gerald Darmanin.

“This time they’re 9mm. But when the time comes, it will be 11.43,” the letter said, referring to a larger caliber pistol bullet. Asked if the ministers’ security had been strengthened, the aide said each were shadowed by a security officer, in line with standard protocol in France.

The minister intended to file a complaint with the police, the aide added.


Greece plans floating border barrier to stop migrants

Updated 29 January 2020

Greece plans floating border barrier to stop migrants

  • The Defense Ministry has invited private contractors to bid on supplying a 2.7-kilometer-long floating fence
  • Greece’s six-month old center-right government has promised to take a tougher line on the migration crisis

ATHENS: The government in Greece wants to use a floating barrier to help stop migrants from reaching the Greek islands from the nearby coast of Turkey.
The Defense Ministry has invited private contractors to bid on supplying a 2.7-kilometer-long (1.7 miles) floating fence within three months, according to information available on a government procurement website Wednesday. No details were given on when the barrier might be installed.
A resurgence in the number of migrants and refugees arriving by sea to Lesbos and other eastern Greek islands has caused severe overcrowding at refugee camps.
The netted barrier would rise 50 centimeters (20 inches) above water and be designed to hold flashing lights, the submission said. The Defense Ministry estimates the project will cost 500,000 euros ($550,000), which includes four years of maintenance.
The government’s description says the “floating barrier system” needs to be built “with non-military specifications” and “specific features for carrying out the mission of (maritime agencies) in managing the refugee crisis.”
“This contract process will be executed by the Defense Ministry but is for civilian use — a process similar to that used for the supply of other equipment for (camps) housing refugees and migrants,” a government official told The Associated Press.
The official asked not to be identified pending official announcements by the government.
Greece’s six-month old center-right government has promised to take a tougher line on the migration crisis and plans to set up detention facilities for migrants denied asylum and to speed up deportations back to Turkey.
Under a 2016 migration agreement between the European Union and Turkey, the Turkish government was promised up to 6 billion euros to help stop the mass movement of migrants to Europe.
Nearly 60,000 migrants and refugees made the crossing to the islands last year, nearly double the number recorded in 2018, according to data from the United Nations’ refugee agency.