A French mayor has been accused of being a Christmas grinch after putting up metal cages to stop homeless people sleeping on public benches over the holidays.
The cages were erected on Christmas Eve in Angouleme, south-western France, reports Sud Ouest newspaper. Critics rounded on the mayor, Xavier Bonnefont, accusing him of a lack of “empathy” for those without a home.
However, Bonnefont’s deputy, Joel Guitton, defended the move, saying the benches were “used by people who consume alcohol on a regular basis.”
Sud Ouest claims the square where the benches are located, had become the scene of regular fights between homeless people.
Some locals backed the move to “restore public order”, but a former French lawmaker, Guillame Garot, said “this is not France” and one twitter user quipped that next year the fences will be electrified.