The incident led to various allegations on social networks, with some talking of a “gesture of submission” or an “Islamist” attack. The cross, which has adorned the gate of the cemetery of Saint-Thomas-de-Conac (Charente-Maritime) since 1871, disappeared in April, the weekly Haute Saintonge reported on Friday ( April 22). According to a resident of the municipality, who is a descendant of the mayor who was in office when the cemetery was founded, the municipality was the trigger for this move, but did not want to comment on it.
The mayor “informed me that the cross had to be removed because of the new law”, says Guillaume Boraud. However, this reasoning contradicts the jurisprudence of the Council of State in this area, Haute Saintonge reminds us. In 2017, it had confirmed that while it was no longer possible to put religious signs on public buildings, those that existed before the 1905 law on the separation of church and state did not have to be removed.
Both the measure and the municipality’s keeping quiet irritate part of the population. “For us, this is not a conspicuous religious sign. This is the identity of France,” Guillaume complains. He also deplores the fact that the cross was simply sawn off. He criticises the ” cruelty ” of this gesture.