Black Marianne bust removed

Black representative group threatens legal action as mayor replaces town hall statue with 'more traditional' version

27 January 2015

A BLACK bust of Marianne that has been on show in a town hall since 1999 has been taken down by a mayor because it does not represent France.

The mayor of Frémainville in the Val-d'Oise, Marcel Allegre, told Le Parisien: “It's a good symbol for the end of slavery, but for what reason are we elevating it to the ranks of Marianne of the Republic?”

His assistant Gérard Borycki said the sculpture was not of Marianne, but “a Marianne-type sculpture”.

Mr Allegre said he was outraged by accusations of racism that have followed the decision.

“The decision was made with the agreement of the municipal council. I don't understand these reactions,” he said.

“The former mayor [in 1999] said himself 'the black Marianne with long hair falling on her shoulders and bare chest will sit next to a white Marianne for a time',” he said.

Mr Allegre said the bust was now on show in a meeting room in another part of the town hall where it had been placed in November.

The Conseil représentatif des associations noires has said it will be taking legal action describing the statements from the mayor as “the worst theories of the Klu Klux Klan and supremacists movements”.

The CRAN has asked the Association of mayors of France to create the next bust of Marianne with the features of a black, Asian or Middle Eastern woman.

The former mayor of Frémainville who introduced the statue, Maurice Maillet said: “I don't see why the Republic can't be black, you just need to look at the French football team.”

He said the decision to remove the bust was a poor one “in the context of national unity which has followed the recent attacks in France”.

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