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French Mayor To Syrian Refuges: You Are Not Welcome In This Town

| by Meg O'Connor
Robert Menard, a politician linked to the National Front party in Beziers, told the refugee, 'you are not welcome in this town'Robert Menard, a politician linked to the National Front party in Beziers, told the refugee, 'you are not welcome in this town'

A video of a mayor of a southern French city trying to evict a family of Syrian refugees from his town has gone viral. 

According to Huffington Post, Robert Menard is a far-right mayor linked to the National Front party in Beziers. The video shows 62-year-old Menard and a group of police, including an armed guard, storm into a squat in a shantytown where many immigrants live.

In the footage, Menard walks into a number of apartments and - using the help of a translator - repeatedly tells the Syrian immigrants, "You are not welcome in this city. You entered here by breaking down doors. You are stealing water and electricity. You should not be occupying these apartments." 

"You're not welcome here. You need to leave," the mayor told refugees.

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Menard's administration posted the video, which they filmed, to the mayor's official website.

The refugee whom Mernard's tirade was directed at - a Syrian refugee in his 30s - was astonished, and asked if there was anywhere else he could go before promising to leave 'after one month.'

The Daily Mail reports that the videos have sparked outrage amongst some, since the refugees have no funds and no where else to turn. On social media, people have accused Menard of evoking memories of the Holocaust when he called for children's names to be reviewed in order to establish how many Muslims there are.

According to the Daily Mail, Aime Couquet, another local French politician, has accused Menard of "acting illegally." Couquet said of the mayor, "You need a court order to expel someone."

Couquet also said that this isn't the first time Menard has aimed to fuel anti-immigrant sentiment. Last week, his town hall magazine was caught retouching a photograph of refugees to make it look as though they were headed to Beziers. The headline above the photo read, "They're coming!"

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian migrants have fled a brutal civil war to seek refuge in Europe. According to Huffington Post, many fear that the surge in refugee populations could give rise to further anti-immigrant sentiment and allow radical anti-immigrant factions like the National Front to capitalize on the crisis in order to gain more political control.

Sources: Daily Mail, Huffington Post

Photo Credit: Screenshot via Beziers Mayor/Youtube