'I will kill myself if another caravan arrives in Chavannes': Mayor of French village threatens suicide if 35 traveller families refuse to leave the area

Paul Renaudat's hunting rifles confiscated following comments over traveller dispute

The mayor of a village in central France has threatened to kill himself over a dispute with 35 traveller families in the area.

Paul Renaudat, the mayor of Chavannes in the department of Cher in central France, originally told police and a local radio station that he planned to commit suicide if the families refused to leave the village.

Despite the fact the caravans left shortly afterwards, Mr Renaudat repeated his claims in the French daily newspaper Le Parisien, adding that he would gladly “sacrifice” himself for the good of France, and would have no hesitation in taking his life should the travellers return.

Mr Renaudat said he has already informed his family of his plans, which stem from the continued presence of travellers in the local stadium and the pressure he is under from the village’s 200 inhabitants to have them removed.

Police have reportedly visited the under-pressure mayor to check on his welfare but publicly declared him to be in good health. Local authorities have, however, confiscated Mr Renaudat’s legally-owned hunting rifles and his family are said to have taken him to a hospital for a check-up.

Speaking to Le Parisien, Mr Renaudat said: “The next caravan that turns up on communal land, I will disappear… There have been others who made sacrifices so the Republic could move forward, and I am ready to do the same”.

He added that he would “defend tooth and nail” the “moral contract” he had entered into with his constituents.

He went on to say: “I didn’t give any parking permit [to the traveller families], and I was forced to put up with their presence for a week... So I felt I had failed in my mission as mayor, and that’s why I wanted to end my life“.

Mr Renaudat’s suicide threat is the latest in a long line of controversial comments made by public officials about France’s travelling community.

Only a few weeks ago Gilles Bourdouleix, an MP and mayor of the town of Cholet in the Maine and Loire region of western France, was accused of saying “Hitler maybe did not kill enough [French travellers]”.

The comments were allegedly made during a confrontation between Bourdouleix and the residents of around 100 caravans which were illegally parked in a local authority-owned field.

And earlier this year the European Roma and Travellers Forum announced it would be suing right-wing politician Jean-Marie Le Pen for alleged incitement to racial hatred.

The campaign group claims the 85-year-old founder of the Front National party labelled travellers “smelly” and “rash-inducing” during a rally in the city of Nice.

The following day the city’s mayor and centre-right UMP deputy Christian Estrosi stoked tensions further by labelling the Roma community “criminals” and proposing tougher measures for dealing with them, including installing video surveillance in Roma and traveller camps.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
News
UK Border Control
i100
Arts and Entertainment
TV
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Junior / Assistant

£7800 - £13455 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A career opportunity has become ...

Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn