The French Government has condemned an open letter drawn up by 25 retired generals. In the letter, which was also signed by more than a thousand active soldiers, the former generals warn that France is heading for civil war if it does not act more actively against religious extremism.
According to them, “fanatical partisans” divide communities and Islamists gain more and more influence. France is in jeopardy, the signatories write. They also act against the “hordes of the banlieues”.
The open letter is addressed to President Macron and was published last week in the right-wing conservative journal Valeurs actuelles. French right-wing populist politician Marine Le Pen, who will take part in the presidential elections next year, expressed its support for the letter writers.
Armed Forces Minister Parly calls the letter on Twitter “irresponsible” and does not rule out that the military supporting the letter will be punished. According to the Minister, they have not been neutral and loyal in political matters as defined in the law.
She also stressed that an “immense majority” of the military did not sign the letter and that the retired generals “no longer have any function in our armies and represent only themselves”.
The letter led to much turmoil in France, also because of the timing: exactly 60 years after a coup attempt by retired generals trying to prevent Algerias independence.
The coup failed because of a lack of support. This was due, among other things, to a famous speech by President De Gaulle, who dressed in his Second World War uniform, addressed the French people.