Factory Attack Exposes Political Divisions in France

Factory Attack Exposes  Political Divisions in FranceFactory Attack Exposes  Political Divisions in France

While some French leaders called for unity in the wake of Friday’s attack on a US-owned gas plant near the southeastern city of Lyon, others took the opportunity to criticize the government over national security.

French President Francois Hollande said on Friday all possible measures would be taken to avoid future attacks, while warning against divisions. Claude Bartolone, president of the Socialist Party at the National Assembly, also called or the country to come together.

Not everyone, however, put on a unified front in the wake of the attack. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is head of the conservative Les Republicains Party, criticized the government for being lax, France24 reported.

“For the last several weeks, we’ve been calling on the government to take every indispensable measure to ensure our compatriots’ protection,” he said, adding that he hoped the government would “learn all the imperative lessons from this new attack.”

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right National Front Party, called for “strong and firm” steps to be taken immediately.

The FN’s vice president, Florian Philippot, also had harsh words for the government. “Stop this policy of mantras, stop this policy of emotions … Nothing has been done since January. What is lacking is determination and action.”

The attack took place on Friday when a suspect rammed a delivery van into gas containers at the factory. Police said that a decapitated head was also found at the site.

Yassin Sahli, a 35-year-old deliveryman and father of three, was arrested on Friday as the main suspect of Friday’s attack.

Sahli was taken into police custody on Friday on suspicion of decapitating a man and ramming his vehicle into the factory.