Coronavirus in Europe: Hunters and Gamekeepers Help Police Enforce Lockout in France

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French hunters and game guards have been requisitioned by regional authorities to help the police enforce French prison rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

The operation took place over a weekend before being canceled due to their “limited legal basis,” authorities said on Thursday.

They were requisitioned by the prefecture of Seine-et-Marne, a region southeast of Paris, to “prevent and report to the armed forces” any violation of local locking rules, according to a decree published by the prefecture.

Hunters and game keepers were requisitioned only on the weekends, April 3 and 4. A similar operation planned for the Easter weekend (April 11 to 13) was canceled Thursday by the prefecture.

“Due to their meager legal basis, the decrees have been deleted and the operation will not be repeated in the coming weekends,” said the prefecture of Seine-et-Marne in a statement.

“The word” hunter “was inappropriate,” said Seine-et-Marne prefect Thierry Coudert to Euronews. “They were sworn employees of the National Hunting Federation. “

“Private hunters and game keepers whose names appear in this document are requisitioned,” said the prefectural decree.

Gamekeepers and hunters were requisitioned to receive orders from the National Forestry Office or the local gendarmerie and police, according to the decree.

The Seine-et-Marne prefecture said that the hunters who participated in the operation were “sworn experts from the Departmental Federation of Seine-et-Marne hunters”.

“No fines were imposed during the operation last weekend,” said the prefecture.

Philippe Birrer, a gamekeeper who works in and around the Nanteau forest in Seine-et-Marne, told Euronews that he worked with the local gendarmerie last weekend to enforce the rules of the isolation after being requisitioned.

“I check people’s certificates and remind them of the rules of self-isolation,” he said, adding that all requisitioned game wardens must wear their uniforms and wear the prefectural decree.

“The prefecture’s instruction was” zero tolerance “, but I did not issue any fines. The people whose certificates I verify are from the region, I know a few. It’s not easy to fine your neighbor! “

Only the police and local gendarmerie officers were allowed to carry a gun, he said. “As a gamekeeper, I have the right to carry my weapon to shoot animals, if they die and suffer. But as a requisitioned agent, I remind people of the rules, I don’t need a gun for that. “

Birrer said that “far too many people are unruly” during the lockdown. For a weekend, he was requisitioned and was able to remind people of the rules; but he said there are just as many who do not follow lockout instructions on weekdays when he was helpless.

He said he observed people riding on horseback, on four wheels or going around with friends (a walk between people living together is allowed).

“Now is not the time to get injured and go to the hospital,” he added. “We should also be requisitioned during the week. The more people follow the lock rules, the faster it will be over. “

French people who do not respect the lock rules can be fined up to € 175.

The prefect of Seine-et-Marne followed Tuesday the prefecture of Paris by announcing stricter rules in terms of locking coronaviruses by prohibiting jogging and cycling during the day.

The French government has authorized the prefectures of all of France to fix local rules for locking the country, which will be extended beyond April 15 for a period still unknown.

The French Interior Ministry told Euronews that the requisition was “an initiative of the Seine-et-Marne prefecture” which was “not coordinated with the Interior Ministry”.

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