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French mayor’s house torched amid tensions over asylum seeker centre

The attack in a town near Nantes has been branded cowardly and unacceptable

The mayor of Saint-Brevin-Les-Pins’s property after a blaze on Wednesday morning Pic: Screenshot / Yannick Morez / Mairie de Saint-Brevin-les-Pins

A criminal inquiry has been opened after a French mayor had his house torched allegedly for his support for an asylum seeker reception centre.

Yannick Morez - mayor of Saint-Brevin-Les-Pins, west of Nantes - said the attack on his home was “cowardly and unacceptable”.

His property was damaged and two cars were destroyed in the blaze, which happened around 5 am on Wednesday (March 22).

Mr Morez thanked neighbours for alerting him to the blaze, which he said had avoided “more dramatic consequences” for him and his wife.

Sylvie Canovas-Lagarde, the prosecutor for Saint-Nazaire, said a criminal inquiry had been opened.

A fire expert had visited the house on Wednesday morning and, in first conclusions, ruled out it was an accidental blaze, added Ms Canovas-Lagarde.

The Association des maires de France (AMF) shared their support for Mr Morez over the attack.

Mr Morez was among those supporting an asylum seeker reception centre in Saint-Brevin-Les-Pins.

The mayor said he and other supporters of the project had been threatened – especially on social media – over their positions. 

At a recent council meeting, a motion of support was adopted for those suffering “acts of intimidation on the part of opponents of the project and their extremist supporters”.

Last month, there were clashes between supporters and opponents of the project at a march in the town. 

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