Anger over security bills for French festivals
Rows have broken out after the government advised prefectures to bill mairies and other organisers of regional festivals for full cost of security at events including national and riot police, gendarmes and snipers.
Several organisers of free-access public events condemn the move, which has already seen some festivals hit with bills, often high due to extra security needs due to terrorist attacks.
In the past much of the costs were paid for by the state under its duty to protect the public (mairies paid a part, such as for municipal police officers).
The government has now said prefectures should negotiate case by case using ‘discernment’.
Former Culture Minister Jack Lang said some organisers are being hit with ‘staggering’ bills which could ‘kill’ some festivals.
Those affected include the Feria de Béziers, which has free festivities linked to the corridas. The city’s mayor has spoken out after being told to expect a bill in future years which he says may amount to €2 million and be ‘impossible to pay’ unless festival-goers are charged to attend.