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A bilingual (French and Alsatian) sign in Mulhouse. Wikipedia

Thousands demonstrate in France to defend regional languages

Gatherings were organized in several cities in France to protest against the censorship of “immersive teaching” of regional languages ​​by the Constitutional Council.

Published: May 30, 2021, 10:28 am

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    “People are there because they are afraid that association schools will be closed. “This Saturday, May 29, many events were organized in several cities in France, including Colmar, Bastia and Guingamp, reported French weekly Le Point. The goal: to defend the “immersive teaching” of regional languages. While the Paul Molac law on the teaching of these languages ​​was adopted on April 8 by the National Assembly, 61 members of the majority appealed to the Constitutional Council, which ruled on May 21. The sages declared the diacritical marks and the teaching given entirely in a regional language as unconstitutional.

    Thousands of French people in the country rallied against this decision, on Saturday, May 29. “People are there because they are afraid that association schools will be closed. The decision of the Constitutional Council could deprive them of all their funding,” Paul Molac told Le Point. This deputy from Morbihan was present at the rally in Guingamp, in Brittany, which had mobilized 10 000 people according to the organizers, and 6 000 according to the prefecture. According to the elected, the decision of the Constitutional Council could jeopardize “an educational method used for more than 50 years”.

    On Saturday, the LR president of the Grand Est region participated in a meeting in Colmar, when he was targeted with a flour bomb by a stranger. After a meeting dedicated to the defence of regional languages, Jean Rottner was covered with flour, as he was leaving the premises of the Eltern Alsace association. BFMTV indicated that he also received insults such as “traitor” and “felon”. In reaction to this event, the former mayor of Mulhouse, candidate for re-election for the presidency of the region, used an ironic tone: “To be floured on this occasion by an autonomist is a form of recognition. I am very grateful for this tribute to Alsatian pastry,” he tweeted.

    Nearly 200 people gathered to defend the teaching of Alsatian immersion at school. Rottner is well known for having defended the maintenance of Alsace as a region during the government’s administrative reforms. But today, he is nevertheless perceived as an important figure in the defence of the new great region which brings together Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne, which would dilute the influence of Alsace.

    About 400 people gathered in Pau for this occasion. The mayor of the town, François Bayrou, as well as the deputy Jean Lassalle were notably present. In Corsica, in Bastia, nearly 200 people gathered to defend regional languages, according to Le Point. The demonstration ended with Corsican songs in front of the premises of the academic inspectorate, in defence of the Corsican language.

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