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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

French Island Protests Corsican Language Prohibition

After a court in the French Island of Corsica banned language in its local parliament, public outrage sparked across the region

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FRANCE: A court in Corsica has sparked outrage by outlawing the use of Corsican in the island’s municipal assembly. According to the Bastia court’s ruling on Thursday, which was upheld by French law, only French may be used when performing official duties.

According to UNESCO, a cultural organization affiliated with the United Nations, Corsican, which is similar to standard Italian and has about 150,000 native speakers, is at risk of disappearing.

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Thursday, the court said that the Corsican assembly could not allow the language to be used during debates because it was against the constitution.

Aside from the language issue, the court also said that local laws that “established the existence of a Corsican people” were against the Constitution.

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The decision was made in response to a lawsuit filed by the prefect of Corsica, who serves as the top official of the French government on the island, and it was made as Emmanuel Macron’s administration is negotiating with local officials to give Corsica more autonomy.

The verdict was quickly criticized by prominent pro-autonomy politicians.

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In a joint statement, they said, “We can’t accept this situation, so we are going to appeal the decision.” They said that Corsican had to be recognised as an official language along with French if it was to live and grow.

The pro-independence group Core in Fronte called the verdict “shameful” in a tweet that it posted in Corsican.

Jean-Christophe Angelini, the leader of the Party of the Corsican Nation, tweeted that the choice “sounds to us like an insult.”

Corsica and the French government don’t get along very well because nationalist groups have been calling for more autonomy or even independence for a long time.

Last month, Macron declared that he had “no taboos” about changing the status of Corsica, a bright Mediterranean island that is a favourite among tourists. He insisted, nonetheless, that Corsica must stay a part of France.

The conditional release of two men convicted of taking part in the 1998 assassination of the island’s prefect, Claude Érignac—the highest-ranking French official ever assassinated—seems to have opened the door for new talks between Paris and Corsican leaders.

Also Read: Over 1.2 Million People Protest Macron’s Pension Reform in France

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