Macron crisis: MPs facing threat of ‘physical violence’ as support plummets
Protesters have blocked off access to some constituency offices with breeze block walls or piles of manure while graffiti accuses MPs of lies and treason. La Republique En Marche (LREM) MP Jean-Baptiste Moreau featured on a “Wanted” poster plastered around the town of Guéret in mid-August.
He now requests police patrols to check on his family when he is in Paris because of the threat of violence from the Yellow Jackets.
The cattle farmer-turned-MP told politico.eu: “I do not exclude that one day we will see physical violence against an elected official.”
Mr Moreau’s crime appears to have been backing Mr Macron’s support for EU free-trade deals with Canada and South America’s Mercosur bloc
I do not exclude that one day we will see physical violence against an elected official
Brussels and Mercosur wound up 20 years of negotiations with a landmark trade deal in June.
But it was bitterly opposed by EU farmers who fear increased competition from South America and by environmentalists who warned it would lead to Brazil turning more of the Amazon into farmland.
And some in LREM are convinced that the campaign of intimidation is already having an effect on MPs’s choices with some notable abstentions in recent votes.
Barbara Bessot Ballot, a first-time MP from Burgundy, told politico.eu: “Those who abstained are very uncomfortable. I am convinced they abstained to avoid trouble.”
Her colleague Marie Lebec said: “We are going through a political moment during which, when people disagree, the reaction is immediately quite violent.
“It makes me wonder about representative democracy, and the place of MPs.”
Ms Lebec said she regularly receives abuse and death threats on social media.
Sophie Beaudouin-Hubière, a new MP who worked in HR before running for office, said the people behind the recent wave of abuse and threats belong to the current “first generation of the ‘child-king’” who, when frustrated, “express ourselves through violence as if we were still two years old”.
But she does not think MPs should change their views because of disapproval.
She said: “We are not elected to be loved. It’s not show business, it’s politics.”