A far-Right masked female singing group has brought discord to a formerly tranquil southern French village whose only previous claim to fame was its sparkling mineral water.
Les Brigandes perform songs that target Muslims, Jews, journalists, gays, Jesuits, freemasons, politicians and Pope Francis. The band has male backing musicians and moved into La Salvetat-sur-Agout in 2015. They live in a commune of about 30 people, according to village residents.
An online petition against the group has gathered nearly 1,500 signatures, more than the population of the village, which has only 1,100 residents. Christophe Pourprix, who launched the petition, and another villager, Thierry Canals, have started legal action against the group for allegedly threatening to assault them.
“When they sing one of their songs, I Am a Fascist, they perform a Nazi salute and appear with Kalashnikov rifles instead of guitars,” Mr Canals, 60, told The Telegraph. “They’ve opened a shop selling neo-Nazi tracts, the writings of Jean-Marie Le Pen [founder of the Front National] and Mein Kampf.”
Videos by the group, said to be well known in far-Right circles, have been viewed millions of times on YouTube.
Its female singers generally appear in short skirts and Zorro-style masks. They sometimes don fake pig’s heads to poke fun of Muslims and Jews, villagers said.
“They’re against Arabs, blacks and anyone who isn’t white,” said Mr Canals, an ex-soldier who ran a local restaurant until last year. “Another of their songs, Foutez le Camp, is supposed to be a message to minorities to leave the country.”
“Lots of visitors come to their property and we often see cars with German or Swiss number plates parked there,” Mr Canals said.
Attempts to contact Les Brigandes went unanswered. They refused to answer the questions of a reporter for Le Parisien newspaper who went to their home.
The mayor, Thibault Estadieu, has reportedly urged residents to be tolerant of the group, which has performed for free at a local retirement home and takes part in community activities. Mr Estadieu was not immediately available to comment.