Much criticised, the Interior Minister returned Friday on the controversy triggered by these remarks on the intrusion of demonstrators on May 1st in the Paris Hospital.
“I should not have used the term ‘attack’,” admitted Interior Minister Christophe Castaner , Friday, May 3, 2019, after more than 24 hours of controversy triggered by his remarks about the outbreak of dozens protesters on May 1 in the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital ,.
The minister felt that he should have preferred the term “violent intrusion”, raised before him by officials of the Paris hospital, whose staff was “shocked” and is “more adapted” to the facts.
“Accepting to go back on his words, it does not pose any problem,” he continued, during a press conference on the sidelines of a visit to Toulon. “It is natural also for a politician to be a man who (…) can say that a situation has evolved”.
“Attack is the word that came to me” after meeting the staff there, said the minister, but “remember the term you want,” he said.
“I hear the reproaches, I wish no controversy exists on the subject.”
Christophe Castaner was accused Thursday by several politicians of manipulation, while videos on social networks seemed rather to show protesters taking refuge in the walls of the hospital to escape the tear gas.
The leader of France Insoumise had described him as “incompetent” and “liar”. On Friday, Christophe Castaner rejected any idea of resigning: according to the opposition, “we should change the Minister of the Interior every week,” he quipped.
However, the minister said he did not regret his visit to the bedside of a wounded police officer. He insisted that “the hospital compound was forced”, that “insults” were “mentioned in the complaint of the director of the hospital”, and also reported “jets of stone that are also an aggression.
“A hospital is a place we should protect above all else,” the minister said, saying that “without the intervention of the police a disaster could have occurred”.