08/07/2013 01:22 pm ET | Updated Aug 07, 2013

French Mayor Threatens Suicide If Traveling Caravan Of Migrant Families Returns To Village

A mayor in central France reportedly was so upset by a caravan of migrant families that recently stayed in his village that he threatened to take his own life to keep them from returning.

Chavannes Mayor Paul Renaudat threatened suicide in late July and reiterated his stance to the Le Parisien this week after the convoy left his village.

"There are others who have made sacrifices for the Republic to advance. I am ready to do the same," Renaudat explained to the French-language daily publication Tuesday.

The caravan of about 50 vehicles departed Chavannes on Sunday after parking at an abandoned stadium in the French village for a week. Renaudat said that he did not grant the migrants a parking permit, and that they used the town's electricity, water and trash containers without permission.

According to Le Berry Républicain, Renaudat reportedly received complaints from some of the town's nearly 200 residents after the group arrived, prompting him to make the radical statement.

"I had the feeling of having failed my mission as mayor and that's why I wanted to end life," he told the local newspaper.

Renaudat's threat sparked concern, and local police visited to check on his condition. However, some speculate that racial issues may be at play.

"This guy is absolutely crazy," Bernadete Hétier, co-president of the Movement Against Racism, Antisemitism and For Peace, told France's The Local. "What he's trying to do is exert pressure for a completely undeserving cause, and we should not be sensitive to such pressure."

However, Renaudat maintains that he has nothing against the travelers; he just doesn't want them settling on communal land in the village.

Migrant camps -- particularly communities of Roma, also known as Gypsies -- have been an ongoing point of contention in France. Last year, the government launched yet another campaign to drive the drifters, who emigrated from Romania, out of the country. Though the government has sought to evict the groups from France in the past, those sympathetic to the Roma people, including the European Commission, have often intervened.


Roma Expulsions