'That's it, they're coming': Far-right French mayor sparks outrage with anti-migrant posters calling for referendum on allowing refugees to stay in his town
- Robert Menard put up anti-immigrant posters in Beziers, southern France
- He wants to hold referendum on whether to accept migrants from 'Jungle'
- A year ago he stormed into a squat telling refugees 'you're not welcome'
- He has also reportedly banned the opening of more kebab restaurants
- Beziers, in Languedoc, is one of France's oldest cities, dating to 575BC
A far-right French mayor has triggered fresh outrage after putting up anti-migrant posters and calling for a local referendum about whether to accept asylum-seekers in his city.
The posters, the brainchild of the Mayor of Beziers, Robert Menard, scream: 'That's It, They're Coming' and shows a Photoshopped crowd of migrants, all of them men, outside the city's cathedral.
It says: 'The state is imposing them on us. Migrants in our town centre.'
The official posters have sprung up all over the city of Beziers in southern France
Menard, who represents the far-right National Front, says the posters are a reaction to government plans to relocate thousands of migrants from the notorious 'Jungle' camp near Calais to dozens of sites around France.
It is understood to have been heavily influenced by a poster used by Britain's anti-immigration UK Independence Party, which showed a vast queue of migrants under the headline: Breaking Point.
Emmaus, a French group that works with migrants, said the poster was 'nauseating'.
Mr Menard (pictured) is a former journalist who knows how to manipulate public opinion. He is seen in front of a poster which says: 'From now on, the Municipal Police has a new friend', which was unveiled when the police in Beziers were given new handguns
Another group, SOS Racism, has called for the Languedoc-Roussillon region's governor to step in and stop Menard's planned referendum.
The government's anti-racism body DILCRA has called on the prosecutor's office in Beziers to investigate what it says is a 'flagrant' example of incitement to hatred.
It said: 'The repeated targeting of people or groups because of their origin or their beliefs cannot be accepted.'
Last year Mr Menard, wearing his mayor's sash, marched into a squat surrounded by police, including an armed guard, and told refugees: 'You're not welcome here'
Speaking to French radio yesterday, Mr Menard said: 'I'll do everything to ensure that these migrants don't settle in.'
Menard, who was elected mayor in 2014, said he had not been informed that a migrant reception centre was planned in the town and thought residents should be allowed to vote in a referendum asking whether the migrants should be accepted.
The government plans to break up the 'Jungle', a shantytown near Calais in northern France currently occupied by up to 9,000 migrants.
Menard is furious about plans for a migrant reception centre in the town and has promised a local referendum on the issue
But while most communities have mobilised to help the new arrivals, the authorities in some smaller towns have objected, saying the government has imposed the new arrivals on them.
Last month a French court blocked moves by Allex, another southern town, to hold a similar referendum.
A few towns have seen anti-migrant demonstrations and some of the reception centres being prepared have been attacked and damaged.
Last year he stormed into a squat and told a family of refugees: 'You are not welcome in this town'.
He was also accused of evoking memories of the Holocaust by calling for children's names to be examined so as to establish how many are Muslims.
Menard, has even declared 'war' on kebabs and said he would not permit new kebab restaurants to be opened in the city.
Ironically Menard himself was not born in France. He was born in Algeria, the son of French settlers, known as 'pied noirs', and came to France after Algeria won independence in 1962.