An incendiary government


The fabricated claim that the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris was attacked by protestors during the traditional May Day demonstrations was a lie too far by a government that denies the reality of its own unpopularity, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel. Its downward authoritarian spiral, he argues, is making it an accomplice in the destruction of democratic ethics.

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This presidency seems determined to provoke anger against it that it would not otherwise attract. The lie about the non-existent “attack” on the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris by a horde of violent demonstrators cannot solely be put down to the incompetence of the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner (read Ellen Salvi's article here in French). The claim was repeated over and over again by senior figures, right up to Prime Minister Édouard Philippe himself, and including the health minister Agnès Buzyn and the director of the AP-HP health authority, Martin Hirsch. And it is just the latest in a succession of provocative acts by a government which, ever since the start of the 'yellow vest' protests in November 2018, has constantly sought to impose its will on those who oppose it, using both words of propaganda and acts of repression.