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France: Angouleme council takes down anti-homeless cages around benches after outcry

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By Euronews
France: Angouleme council takes down anti-homeless cages around benches after outcry

<p>The local council in the French city of Angouleme has backtracked on a decision to cage public benches to stop homeless people using them.</p> <p>The fences were put up on Christmas Eve sparking outrage that the move could be so lacking in Yuletide spirit</p> <p>While many shopkeepers had welcomed the cages, saying homeless people brought down the number of customers, locals had responded in solidarity.</p> <p>Two teenagers climbed inside the cages and refused to move out. One said: “we were quite outraged , like everybody, I think. And so we said to ourselves: we absolutely have to do something”</p> <p>The cages have been temporarily removed but the mayor of the right leaning <span class="caps">UMP</span> council, Xavier Bonnefont, said no final decision had yet been made.</p> <p>“We will continue to reflect on this in January with the shopkeepers and the residents of Champs de Mars square, in order to find a satisfactory solution,” he declared.</p> <p>On social media, the mayor defended the cages saying they hadn’t been aimed just at homeless people but at alcoholics and drug dealers who used the area.</p> <p>He also said the cages would eventually have been filled with local rocks to form a kind of landscape art installation</p>