France: Council Removes Anti-Homeless Cages After Outcry

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Above: Benches with wire fences around (down) next to the “Galerie du Champ-de-mars” shopping mall in Angouleme.  Photo: AFP/Getty

The local council in the French city of Angouleme has backtracked on a decision to cage public benches to stop homeless people using them.

The fences were put up on Christmas Eve sparking outrage that the move could be so lacking in Yuletide spirit

While many shopkeepers had welcomed the cages, saying homeless people brought down the number of customers, locals had responded in solidarity.

Two teenagers climbed inside the cages and refused to move out. One said: “we were quite outraged , like everybody, I think. And so we said to ourselves: we absolutely have to do something”

The cages have been temporarily removed but the mayor of the right leaning UMP council, Xavier Bonnefont, said no final decision had yet been made.

“We will continue to reflect on this in January with the shopkeepers and the residents of Champs de Mars square, in order to find a satisfactory solution,” he declared.

On social media, the mayor defended the cages saying they hadn’t been aimed just at homeless people but at alcoholics and drug dealers who used the area.

He also said the cages would eventually have been filled with local rocks to form a kind of landscape art installation.

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