«Загалом пошкоджено та частково знищено 215 об’єктів, 153 транспортних засоби, 8 цивільних суден, постраждало 26 цивільних осіб»

Paris, France — French authorities Friday detained a man suspected of entering the Iranian consulate in Paris and falsely claiming to be armed with an explosive vest, police and prosecutors said. 

No explosives or arms were found on the man or the premises after he surrendered to police following the incident. 

The man, born in 1963 in Iran, had been convicted for setting fire to tires in front of the entrance of the Iranian embassy in Paris in 2023, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. 

Police arrested the suspect, who has not been named, when he left the consulate of his own accord after appearing to have “threatened violent action” inside, it said. 

According to a police source, who asked not to be named, he was wearing a vest with large pockets containing three fake grenades. 

Police earlier told AFP that the consulate called in law enforcement after a witness saw “a man enter carrying a grenade or an explosive belt.” 

The neighborhood around the consulate in the capital’s 16th district was closed off and a heavy police presence was in place, an AFP journalist reported. 

Traffic was temporarily suspended on two metro lines that pass through stops close to the consulate, Paris transport company RATP said. 

Iran’s embassy and consulate share the same building but have different entrances on separate streets. 

The incident came with tensions running high in the Middle East and Israel launching an apparent strike on central Iran overnight. 

However, there was no suggestion of any link. 

The office of the Paris prosecutor confirmed that the same man was to appear in court on Monday over a fire at the diplomatic mission in September 2023. 

A lower court had handed him an eight-month suspended sentence and prohibited him from entering the area around the consulate for two years and carrying weapons.  

But he is appealing the verdict. 

At the time, the man had claimed the action as an act of opposition to Iran’s clerical authorities as they faced the “Woman. Life. Freedom.” nationwide protests. 

Reports said that the man left Iran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution and has expressed sympathy toward the former imperial regime. 

France raised its national security alert to its maximum level following an attack on a concert venue in Moscow on March 22, for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility. 

The incident at the Iranian consulate prompted the Paris embassy of the United States to issue a security alert for its citizens. 

«Путіна треба спустити з неба на землю, і наше небо має знову стати безпечним, і це реально. І це повністю залежить від вашого вибору»

Російські військові після окупації Авдіївки намагаються просунутися в Донецькій області далі. Наразі їхні зусилля зосереджені навколо міста Часів Яр

Губернатор не вказав модель літака, який упав на Ставропіллі. Українські джерела пишуть, що йдеться про надзвуковий ракетоносець-бомбардувальник Ту-22М3 – саме з таких російські військові регулярно завдають ракетних ударів по території України

Сама Наталія Гуменюк 17 квітня в ефірі Радіо Свобода заявила, що пресцентр Сил оборони півдня не порушив жодних наказів командування

CORTE, CORSICA   — The colorful graffiti sprinkled across this mountain town offers one clue about some political sentiments here.

“Liberty for Stephanu Ori,” is plastered on one peeling wall, referring to a Corsican militant arrested last month. Another pays tribute to nationalist Yvan Colonna, killed in jail where he was serving time for the assassination of a top French official.

Still others offer the shorthand call — AFF — for French to leave the island.

Perched on a hill of rugged northern Corsica, Corte is the undisputed cultural and political heart of this French Mediterranean island, which has long fought for greater self-rule from Paris. Today, some some are hopeful that could happen following an agreement last month to insert language in France’s constitution recognizing “an autonomous status” for Corsica.

Top Corsican official Gilles Simeoni called the March agreement — since approved by Corsica’s legislature — a “decisive step,” but cautioned it was just a beginning.

The measure still needs to be approved by both France’s lower house and Senate, where right-wing lawmakers fiercely oppose it. Even if the measure is approved, it is unclear just how much of a difference it will make.

“It’s a step, not necessarily a big one,” said Andre Fazi, a political scientist at the University of Corte. “it could end up making no real change, with the central power retaining the final say when it comes to Corsican national assembly decisions.”

“What is clear is nobody is thrilled about this reform,” he added of the mixed reaction. “Those who support a strong French state will be against this reform. Those who support Corsican independence will say it doesn’t go far enough.”

Even some Corsicans, fiercely proud of their identity, are worried about giving local authorities too much say on some matters.

“I am for Corsican autonomy, but I have real questions about the competence of those managing Corsica today,” said Dominique, a Corsican retiree and former senior French public servant. He declined to give his last name because of the sensitive topic. “If they can’t manage basic things like garbage, why give them more power?”

Paoli’s legacy

The fleeting years when Corsican did have self rule — more than two centuries ago — are cemented in Corte’s history. Dominating a central town square is the statue of 18th century independence leader Pascal Paoli. A key figure in first ousting Genoa then briefly France from the island, Paoli created the Anglo-Corsican kingdom, with its capital based here. He helped usher in schools and a university — and drafted a constitution that inspired that of the United States — before going into exile and dying in Britain, in 1807.

By that time, Corsica was firmly back in France’s orbit, under the rule of another Corsican — Napoleon Bonaparte.

At Corte’s Pascal Paoli University, a few minutes’ walk from Paoli’s statue, graduate student Andrea Nanglard said she is not interested in politics, but supports more autonomy for the island.

“I consider myself more Corsican than French,” said Nanglard, who was born on the French continent but moved to Corsica as a teenager, and speaks the Corsican language. “But I’m not sure if greater autonomy would really change things.”

Another Corsican student, Julien Preziose, also backs inserting a Corsican autonomy reference in the French constitution.

“I think it’s important to fight for the Corsican identity, because otherwise it could disappear,” said Preziose, who is studying ancient Corsican history and archeology. “But it’s not like we think about being Corsican all the time. It’s when we leave Corsica, when that happens.”

In the 19th and 20th centuries, many Corsicans did leave in search of work. Some headed to the Americas; others to French colonies or the mainland. Today, some are coming back to retire, and a few to rediscover their roots. New schools have opened teaching the Corsican language to youngsters.

But among Corsica’s 350,000 residents, many are also French retirees from the mainland. Foreign tourists are similarly flooding in, lured by the island’s beauty. Their arrival has notched up real estate prices and stirred tensions.

“Corsicans are no longer speaking Corsican, they’re losing their roots, their history,” said Dominique, the retired public servant. In the village where he now lives, he said, young people can no longer afford to buy property. “Corsicans are forced to sell their land because they can no longer make ends meet.”

Growing divide

Calls for independence resurfaced in the 1970s, with the creation of the National Liberation Front of Corsica, or FLNC, which staged attacks against symbols of French governance. The most spectacular was the 1998 assassination of French prefect Claude Erignac, the island’s top French state official. The FLNC formally laid down its arms in 2014, although the nationalist movement remains active — especially in Corte. Corsican crime families are also anchored into the landscape.

While nationalist bombings and other attacks have largely ended, tensions still simmer. The 2022 killing by a fellow prisoner of Yvan Colonna, serving a life sentence over Erignac’s killing, sparked protests and rioting in Corte and elsewhere on the island.

Meanwhile, Fazi, the political scientist, believes the fracture between Corsicans and mainland French has grown bigger in recent years. Common memories that bound the two populations a few decades ago — military service, World War II or serving in former French colonies — have now faded.

“There are a lot of Corsican youth today who don’t feel themselves to be at all French,” he said. “And there’s been a lot of immigration to Corsica by people who do feel themselves to be French. And that kind of psychological rupture between the two could be a worry for the state.”

Even so, France’s highly centralized government has loosened up modestly in recent years, including granting Corsica greater political say through a series of small steps. In 2015, Corsican nationalists came to power in regional elections for the first time. The island’s legislature is today dominated by autonomists, like Simeoni, who want more local powers but not a full split with France.

If France’s parliament greenlights this new autonomy measure, the island’s registered voters — both Corsican and French — also will have their say, said President Emmanuel Macron. The majority of both groups, said analyst Fazi, would likely support the measure — one key element bringing the two groups together.

“Autonomy has become mainstream — it’s not subversive like it was 40 years ago,” he said. Still, Fazi added, if the autonomy measure amounts to little more than constitutional language with no substance, Corsica could see new tensions.

“The more the reform is timid, the more it could reinforce the contestation” against the French state, he said. “We may not see a big resurgence of attacks, but more and more violent protests.”

Підсанкційний бізнесмен нині перебуває у СІЗО за низкою обвинувачень, зокрема, у пособництві державі-агресору та сприянні діяльності терористичної організації, які він відкидає