Corsica has been gripped by protests after a pro-independence activist was badly beaten in a French prison
Protesters throw Molotov cocktails in Bastia, Corsica, France, March 13, 2022 © AFP / Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP
Speaking to Corsican newspaper Corse Matin on Tuesday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the French government was prepared to discuss autonomy for the island province, adding, however, that the restoration of public order was a prerequisite for that. Darmanin’s statement came amid mass protests over the brutal beating of a pro-independence activist in a French prison.
In the exclusive interview, the official revealed that the “discussion around the institutional question” would be “unprecedented.” According to Darmanin, the dialogue will be “initiated during the second term of the President of the Republic,” that is, if Emmanuel Macron is re-elected in April.
The minister revealed that the French state was “ready to go as far as autonomy.” Yet, the question still remains what Corsica’s status would look like, Darmanin noted.
France’s interior minister, who was put in charge of Corsica affairs earlier this month, is the first government official to float the idea of granting the province autonomy – something local nationalists have been demanding for decades.
Darmanin is expected to arrive in the restive province on Wednesday, meeting with local officials and visiting a police station attacked by demonstrators last Friday.