12/14/2007France: Group Bombs Seven Speed Cameras
An anti-speed camera group demands that the French government lower taxes or it will continue destroying its revenue machines.
A group vowed to continue destroying speed cameras in France until government officials agree to meet a number of demands. On Tuesday the group planted a timed explosive device at the base of a radar unit in the village of Baillet in the Val-d'Oise, marking the seventh attack since April. The plan failed, however, when the simple device failed to explode.
RTL Radio revealed that a group identifying itself as FNAR, or Fraction Nationaliste Arme Revolutionnaire, sent the Interior minister a package several weeks ago containing both photos establishing their responsibility for the bombings and a letter providing a list of demands. The group insisted that attacks on the revenue generating devices would only stop once the French government lowered taxes and paid a ransom.
FNAR's attacks began in April with an unsuccessful attempt against a camera in Aumont-en-Halatte near Senlis. A second bomb destroyed the camera June 6. Other speed cameras were blown to bits in the Yvelines, Apremont and Chantilly. Police are using anti-terrorist laws to hunt down those involved.
Attacks on speed cameras in France are common. Vigilantes not affiliated with FNAR began taking action against the devices soon after then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy installed them in 2003. In October that year, a camera near Paris on the RN20 was deactivated within 48 hours of its debut because a sledgehammer-wielding vigilante had smashed the lens. In December, a camera north of Amiens in the Somme was active for only a few hours before it was converted into a charred wreck. Other early attacks were made on the RN20 in Paris, the A35 in the Bas-Rhin, the RN7 near Drome and RN113 in Gironde. The company Sagem charges 80,000 Euros (US $115,000) to replace each machine.