“Not an anti-begging order”: 35 euros fine for people standing still in the streets of Angoulême

The Charente capital took this Tuesday, July 18, 2023, a new decree prohibiting “the abusive occupation of public space”. The municipality will impose a fine of 35 euros on any individual sitting, lying or standing statically in the streets of the city.

This Tuesday, July 18, the city of Angoulême in Charente, issued a new decree against “the abusive occupation of public space”. Thus individuals lying, sitting, standing, statically in the street risk a fine of 35 euros.

“Not an anti-begging decree”

For Jean-Phillippe Pousset, the deputy mayor of Angoulême in charge of security: “It’s not an anti-begging order” and “Someone begging without disturbing the public space is no problem. A person lying in the middle of the pedestrian street, yes.”

The fine of 35 euros can however sanction “individuals grouped together immobile or not very mobile, not being in transit and generating nuisance”. The decree specifies: “Any abusive and prolonged occupation of streets and other public spaces is prohibited” that is to say by individuals “grouped together, immobile or not very mobile, not being in transit and generating nuisances (noise, damage, threats, etc.) which disturb the tranquility of passers-by or residents”.

Is also prohibited “seated or lying down when it constitutes an obstacle to the movement of pedestrians and access to buildings bordering public roads as well as standing when it clearly hinders the movement of people, the convenience of passage, safety in public roads and spaces”.

The League for Human Rights intervened

According to Jean-Phillipe Pousset: “Marginal people, travelers and young people are targeted pell-mell” to remind people of the rules of good manners and civility”. A political choice reminiscent of the installations of public mesh benches in 2014. Deemed “inhuman” and denounced by the Abbé-Pierre Foundation, these “anti-marginal” installations were intended to contribute to the fight against the “feeling of insecurity”. They have since been withdrawn.

However, it is possible that this new decree will disappear as quickly as it appeared. According Release, the League of Human Rights would have filed an appeal for annulment and an interim suspension against the decree in question. The association for the defense of human rights considered that this “text aims to drive people in precarious situations out of the city center and contravenes fundamental freedoms”.

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