The murder of Sir David Amess in the UK has raised questions over the protection of MPs and other high-ranking civil servants. Euronews journalists Alessio Dell’Anna and Heloise Urvoy looked at how France and Italy guarantee the safety of their elected officials.
French MPs do not have bodyguards except if there are repeated and serious threats against them, Urvoy explained. But episodes of violence with angry constituents are not rare.
60 French MPs have been assaulted in 2020 alone, according to the French interior ministry.
The tragic murder of Sir David Amess found a strong echo in France, with a rise of 23 per cent of physical attacks on local politicians, mayors and MPs between 2019 and 2020.
Last April, France introduced new legislation to implement more severe and dissuasive sanctions against those who assault official representatives.
Dell’Anna said it was “quite difficult for voters to access MPs in Italy.” Nonetheless, about 82 politicians were under police protection in Italy as of 2019.
Opposition leader Matteo Salvini or now Health Minister Roberto Speranza have for instance been subjected to attacks over the past few years. In 2009, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was wounded by an object thrown at him.
In the first six months of this year, Italy registered 369 episodes of intimidation or violence towards local officials like mayors or councillors — a 15 per cent rise compared to last year.
Violence against national officials is more likely to come from a lone attacker with a political or ideological motive, whereas violence at the local level is often linked to organised crime, Dell’Anna said.