Corsica: Emmanuel Macron calls for calm after the death of Yvan Colonna

In the aftermath of the death of Yvan Colonna, after his violent attack in Arles prison in early March, the Head of State appealed for calm, while the Corsicans prepare to pay tribute to the independence activist, sentenced to prison in perpetuity for the assassination of the prefect Claude Erignac, in 1998.

In Corsica, it was time for meditation on Tuesday, the day after the death of independence activist Yvan Colonna, with “Glory to you Yvan” which bloomed on the walls, against a background of calls for calm, in particular from the head of the ‘State.

“Gloria à tè!” inscribed in black set the tone of the emotion aroused by the death, after three weeks of coma, of the most famous Corsican prisoner in France, who was serving a life sentence, for the assassination in 1998 of the prefect Claude Erignac. Facts he has always denied.

In the kiosks, the front page of Corse-Matin catches the eye: the hand of a woman, her fingernails painted, stroking a poster of the face of the nationalist militant.

For Gilles Simeoni, autonomist president of the Executive Council of Corsica, on Twitter, the death of Yvan Colonna “is an injustice and a tragedy, which will mark the contemporary history of Corsica and its people”.

“Corsica is going through an identity crisis, and with Yvan Colonna, it has found its incarnation, its martyr”, analyzes Dominique, 60 years old. “I fear, I fear that after the mourning, it will burst”, continues this Corsica, who returned to settle twenty years ago on the island, questioned in the streets of Ajaccio.

>> To read also on France24.com: Colonna affair: how to explain the outbreak of violence which is shaking Corsica

Overall, few agree to talk, out of respect for the family. But the emotion is there. In Ajaccio, several hundred young people – 250 according to the authorities – demonstrated peacefully on Tuesday morning, passing to light candles in front of the cathedral, behind a head banner in homage to the former shepherd of Cargèse, “Yvan martiriu di à cause corsa” [Yvan martyr de la cause corse].

“We want to show our support for the family,” said Chjara Secondi, 17, who hopes there will be no outbursts of anger until the funeral, the date of which has not yet been announced. “[Mais] at some point, the Corsican people will show their anger [car] the days we have just spent call for a profound change”, still thinks Gérôme, 41 years old.

Another rally is planned in Bastia in the afternoon.

In this context, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, estimated on France Bleu that “the most important thing is that calm is maintained”, welcoming in passing “the spirit of responsibility” of Corsican elected officials.

“I wish for a return to order in Corsica and I call on all our Corsican compatriots to calm and be restrained”, urged LR presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse on Monday evening.

“All light will be shed”

Sulidarita, one of the associations for the defense of Corsican political prisoners, was in a different register. “Woe to the murderous French state”, promised on Twitter its secretary general, Katti Bartoli.

The attack on Yvan Colonna on March 2 in Arles prison (Bouches-du-Rhône), by a “jihadist” detainee, had aroused almost unanimous anger on the island, with many Corsicans believing that this attack was not would never have taken place if the activist had been transferred to Corsica as he had been asking for a long time.

The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat) has requested that the indictment of his attacker be reclassified as “murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise”, he announced on Tuesday, requested by AFP.

Franck Elong Abé, a radicalized 36-year-old Cameroonian, was indicted for “attempted terrorist assassination” in early March.

The anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office on Tuesday took a “supplementary indictment from the head of assassination in relation to a terrorist enterprise”, he said.

Elong Abé must be summoned soon by the investigating judge in charge of this investigation with a view to the possible modification of the qualification of his indictment, according to a source close to the file.

“All the light will be shed on the sequence which led to this situation which is not acceptable”, promised again the spokesman of the government Gabriel Attal Tuesday, about the aggression of the Corsican militant, violently attacked by a radicalized fellow prisoner who had hounded him for eight minutes, under the gaze of a surveillance camera and without any intervention from the guards.

In an attempt to calm the situation, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, spent three days on the island at the end of last week, lifting the taboo of a possible autonomy for the island. He then announced that the conclusions of the administrative investigation into the attack on the former Cargèse shepherd should be made public by the end of this week.

The hearing at the National Assembly of the head of the Arles plant, initially scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed for a week, “in order to respect the mourning of the family”.

“If the law had been applied and Colonna brought closer, this tragedy would not have happened”, repeated Tuesday morning Michel Castellani, Corsican nationalist deputy, on franceinfo.

After the National Assembly of Catalonia or the Basque party Sortu, which on Monday evening brought the support of these two regions with a strong nationalist color, it is the FLNKS, supporter of the independence of New Caledonia, and the Social Union of Kanak Workers, who expressed their support on Wednesday.

With AFP

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