The mayor Rémi Muzeau and the president of the Region, Valérie Pécresse, are calling for the government to step in.
At the behest of Rémi Muzeau, mayor of Clichy-la-Garenne, around one hundred conservative elected officials for the Paris region met on Friday at the City Hall to protest against the illegal street prayers that have taken place every Friday at the same place.
The conflict between the town council and the Muslim associations in Clichy has been ongoing since 23 March, the date of the first demonstration by worshippers in Clichy to protest against the expulsion of two Muslim associations from a building that belonged to the city and had been serving as a prayer room, following a decision by the Council of State in 2016.
The conflict has been going on for months between the two parties because, on one side, the associations demand that a mosque be opened in the city, and, on the other, the mayor declares that there is already a 1500 m2 place of worship in the urban area.
In 2015, Rémi Muzeau inaugurated a cultural centre for the Muslim community of Clichy, with two prayers rooms inside. But the associations say they are too small to cope with busy days, particularly for Friday prayers.
On Friday, around noon, around one hundred elected officials met to protest. At the same time, the street prayer was supposed to have taken place but very few of the faithful were present.
The elected officials then walked through the adjacent streets singing “La Marseillaise”.
Soon, the president of the Île-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, joined the procession to support the mayor of Clichy.
“The Republic is not a balance of power, there has been a lot of discussion, and now we have to make decisions,” she said, “we can not accept public space prayers where the mayor is powerless to act!” the president of the region said in front of the LCI cameras. “It is a provocation against the rule of law and the Republic. It is not necessary that Clichy become the field of experimentation ignoring the rule of law,” said the mayor.
The faithful following the procession for their part expressed their anger at the situation. “You have to talk to us, you think we do it with pleasure to pray in the street! We want to be respected,” Hamid Kazed, president of the Union of Muslim Associations of Clichy (UAMC) fumed.
Around 13h, a street prayer finally started not far from the Town Hall. It had initially been planned to go ahead at 12:30.
But while the demonstration was mostly peaceful, a dozen elected officials marched off to the faithful while the prayer was going to start to physically prevent the Muslims from praying. The police quickly interposed themselves between the faithful and the elected officials to ease tensions.
Shortly after the demonstration, the mayor of Clichy welcomed the “huge success of the gathering of elected officials”.