25 years since the assassination of Érignac: a ceremony in the presence of Gérald Darmanin on Monday
On February 6, 1998, the prefect Érignac was shot dead in Ajaccio. Monday, for the 25th anniversary of this assassination, the State will be represented by Gérald Darmanin, forced to cancel his last Corsican visits amid tensions around the still detained members of the commando responsible for this murder.
This assassination – the first prefect killed in France since the Second World War – had caused a shock wave in the island. In the following days, tens of thousands of islanders expressed their fear during the biggest demonstrations ever organized in Ajaccio and Bastia. An anonymous group claimed responsibility for the assassination three days later, on February 9. After several months of confusion and false leads, the investigation would finally lead, on May 21, 1999, to the first arrests. Three men will finally be sentenced to life imprisonment: Pierre Alessandri, Alain Ferrandi and Yvan Colonna, who died on March 21 following an attack in his cell a few weeks earlier.
Twenty-five years later, the commemorations will be marked on Monday by the presence of the Minister of the Interior. “At the request of Emmanuel Macron,” said Gérald Darmanin on Twitter. For the 20th anniversary, it was the Head of State himself who came with, for his first return to the island since the events, Mrs. Érignac and her two children. Since this year 2018, the Érignac family has not returned to Corsica, and, from a source familiar with the matter, it will not be present on Monday. It was in 2018 that Place Érignac was inaugurated, with an inscription on the ground: “A man, a place”. “I hope that the Republic will never weaken in Corsica”, then pleaded Ms. Érignac, paying homage to her husband on this “cursed place”.
Darmanin’s visits canceled
The announcement of Mr. Darmanin’s arrival came a few hours after that, much awaited on the island, of the granting by the courts of a semi-freedom measure to Pierre Alessandri, convicted in 2003 and releasable since 2017 The Corsican elected officials welcomed this judicial decision, hoping for the same outcome for Alain Ferrandi, who will be fixed on February 23. In September, the elected members of the Assembly of Corsica had expressed their “indignation” after the rejection of yet another request from Pierre Alessandri, calling on the government to “recreate the conditions” of “mutual trust” to continue the dialogue with the State on the future of Corsica.
This cycle of consultations was launched in July, four months after the fatal attack on Yvan Colonna by a fellow prisoner, on March 2, at the prison of Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône). His death had given rise to numerous demonstrations in Corsica, punctuated by violent clashes, then to the announcement, by Mr. Darmanin, of this cycle of negotiations which was to be spread over a year at the rate of a meeting every six weeks in Paris. For now, only one of these meetings has taken place, in mid-September. Gérald Darmanin then canceled two visits to the island, in October and December, due to tensions around the issue of prisoners.
“Writing a new page in relations between Corsica and the State”
For Gilles Simeoni, autonomist president of the executive council of Corsica and strongman of the island, this measure targeting Pierre Alessandri is a first step: “On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the assassination of the prefect Claude Érignac, this court decision comes to say in a strong symbolic way that the moment (…) to write a new page in relations between Corsica and the State has come, without forgetting anything of the past, of the pains”, he declared.
This visit by Mr. Darmanin can “symbolically” relaunch the discussions, estimated Thierry Dominici, political scientist, who nevertheless underlines the danger of politicizing these commemorations: “For some, to commemorate again and again is to dig the wound, to put it back to lively “. “Some nationalists even believe that the state is instrumentalizing the Érignac affair for the purposes of immobility”, advances this specialist in nationalist movements, who fears a possible violent commemoration of the first anniversary of the death of Yvan Colonna, in March, by part of the island independence youth. “If the state does not change its discourse by making the mea culpa be on both sides, there is a real risk of violence,” said Mr. Dominici.
letelegramme Fr Trans