Although Prime Minister Jean Castex condemned the letter to President Emmanuel Macron this week and the signatories now face disciplinary sanctions, the LCI TV poll conducted by Harris Interactive suggests that French people are with the 20 retired generals.
According to the survey, which was reported by Valeurs Actuelles magazine, 73% agreed with the assessment that the country is “disintegrating,” and 84% agreed that violence is increasing in French society.
“The hour is grave,” the letter said. “France is in peril.”
The former generals urged Macron and other leaders to “find the needed courage to eradicate these dangers,” warning that otherwise, “civil war could end the growing chaos.” The signatories added that Macron would be responsible for thousands of deaths if he procrastinates.
The letter was published by Valeurs Actuelles on April 21, which happened to be the 60th anniversary of a failed military coup d’etat.
National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen, a candidate in France’s 2022 presidential election, agreed with the “call to honor,” saying patriots have a duty to fight for the “salvation of the country.”
The poll found that 58% of respondents “support the words of the soldiers,” while 49% believe the military should intervene, even without a government request, to restore order when necessary, such as during the Yellow Vest riots.
About 74% of participants agreed that supposed anti-racism initiatives are having the opposite effect, attacking symbols of France and creating more division.
Only one-third of respondents said the generals and others who signed the letter should be sanctioned. But that’s where the government apparently is heading as Macron’s administration tries to push back against the grim warning.
Armed forces Chief of Staff General Francois Lecointre reportedly said on Thursday that 18 active-duty servicemen who were identified as signatories to the letter will face possible disciplinary sanctions before a high military court.
Since 2015, terrorist attacks have killed more than 260 people and injured more than 900 in France.
The latest victim was a 49-year-old police worker whose throat was cut in the entrance hall of the Rambouillet police station last Friday.
Beyond the high-profile terrorist incidents, Islamists have created ghettos where native French citizens are a minority and police reportedly fear to tread.
In the LCI poll, 86% of respondents said the nation’s laws don’t apply in some cities.