11/16/2008France: Vigilantes Burn Speed Camera
French activists set fire to a speed camera near the town of Tour-du-Crieu.
Vigilantes in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France set fire to a speed camera on November 1. The device, located on the D119 near La Tour-du-Crieu, had issued pricey citations to passing motorists on the 90 km/h (55 MPH) route. Authorities refused to disclose whether the camera was disabled by the attack.
The French government employs about 2000 speed cameras, provoking coordinated attacks in the wine-making regions. Vigilante actions began soon after then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy first turned to photo enforcement in 2003. In October that year, a camera near Paris on the RN20 was deactivated within 48 hours of its debut after 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 $100,000) to replace each machine.