A surge of hatred. According to information from Nice-Matin, Éric Brocardi, spokesperson for the National Federation of Firefighters (FNSPF), has faced death threats since he publicly opposed the reinstatement of firefighters at the end of July. firefighters not vaccinated against Covid-19 to fight the fires.
Asked about a possible reintegration of these personnel to remedy the lack of human resources among firefighters, the spokesperson estimated at the end of July in Marianne that “the lack of personnel already existed before the Covid crisis”. “We have to recruit massively and create a desire to become a volunteer firefighter. We would have the same shortcomings if these firefighters were reinstated tomorrow, ”he added.
According to the regional daily, this native of Nice has since faced a surge of hostile and hateful messages on social networks. But the threats have redoubled this week, since he was again questioned on the issue “the week spent on a television set”. “So far there have been comments but no direct threats,” he told AFP, adding that he has been the subject of death threats “since Tuesday”. “Several complaints are in progress,” he said.
Éric Brocardi immediately received the support of several political leaders, including Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who described these attacks as “unbearable” on Twitter.
The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi also expressed his “full support” for the spokesperson “who suffered a shameful lynching”. “Nothing justifies”, according to him, “this violent wave of insults and threats”. Renaud Muselier, president (ex-LR) of the Paca region, for his part, castigated the behavior of “a few irresponsible antivax”.
Finally, Gilbert Collard, the honorary president of Éric Zemmour’s party, Reconquête!, described as “unbearable” the death threats against Éric Brocardi, even if he is “not at all agreement” with him on the question of the reintegration of non-vaccinated firefighters.
This mobilization allowed a real domino effect. On Twitter, the hashtag “#JeSoutiensBrocardi” became one of the trends this Wednesday afternoon. A wave of support welcomed by Grégory Allione, the president of the National Federation of Firefighters. “I salute the countless messages and the outpouring of support for the fire department spokesperson. An outstanding firefighter, an unequaled communication director, a friend! “, he tweeted. The FNSPF “will also file a complaint”, he said.
About 5,000 volunteer firefighters suspended
In Nice-Matin, the interested party was moved by “this enormous support” and assumed his position: “All firefighters must meet medical requirements. Some cannot be operational because they no longer sufficiently protect the population. We must be consistent: the firefighters themselves participated in the vaccination of a quarter of the population. »
The spokesperson for civil security, Alexandre Jouassard, also told AFP that he had been the subject of messages of insults and threats. “We will do what is necessary in terms of filing complaints and monitoring reports to the Pharos platform because this cannot continue,” he said.
Éric Brocardi has been warning regularly for several weeks about the lack of human and material resources to fight the increasingly violent fires. “We are targeting 250,000 volunteer firefighters while we currently have 197,000,” he repeated in the regional newspaper.
According to the Interior Ministry, France has around 40,000 professional firefighters and 197,000 volunteers. Among them, around 5,000 volunteers and 140 professionals were not vaccinated against Covid-19 in October 2021 and were therefore subject to suspension. “Several dozen, perhaps half, have been vaccinated” since, reported Parisian Sébastien Delavoux on July 29. Unvaccinated firefighters would constitute an “infinitesimal” part of the total workforce, estimated Grégory Allione on July 19 on RMC.
The question of the reintegration of these unvaccinated workforce divides politicians. Several dozen deputies tabled a bill at the end of July aimed at reintegrating them, but the government sided with the decision of the High Authority for Health, in favor of maintaining the vaccination obligation.