French ruling party lawmaker Pascal Bois was at home asleep a few days after Christmas when firefighters banged on his front door to tell him his garage was in flames. Startled by the noise in the early hours of the morning, Bois stumbled out of bed and went to inspect the damage, seeing the outside structure consumed by fire with his electric vehicle inside.
“I realised very quickly that it was a deliberate act,” said the married father of two, who had been on alert after receiving a bullet in the post in November. “There’s a moment of shock, of course, but I got over it fairly quickly and did my best to keep calm.” As well as the fire, graffiti had been daubed on the outside wall of his home in Chambly, 35 kilometres (21 miles) from Paris, saying: “No to the pass” and “It’s going to explode”.
The attack came as parliament was debating legislation to create a mandatory “vaccine pass” that meant only people jabbed against Covid-19 could enter bars and restaurants. Bois, along with other members of parliament from President Emmanuel Macron’s Republic on the Move party, was in favour.
With France less than three months from the first round of presidential elections, to be followed by parliamentary polls in June, concern is growing about an increase in attacks against elected figures, particularly ruling party lawmakers.