The return of an animal circus to private land creates a stir in Saint-Maximin

“QWhen I learned that he was in Rousset, I immediately thought it was going to start again”, says Audrey Cantarelle, who runs the eponymous cellar. “It” is the Muller circus and, since 2017, it has been synonymous with a nightmare for the Maximinoise.

Five years ago, when she had not given her authorization, the fairgrounds had already stopped on her land. “Before that, I hosted circuses. But in 2017, with the demonstrations at Luc, I became aware that animals were mistreated, so I wanted to prevent them from settling.” But despite the owner’s refusal, demonstrations by animal rights activists and a municipal reaction, the marquee had indeed been erected.

“They threatened me”

The atmosphere which had then settled was, to say the least, deleterious. “They threatened me and even threw a pallet in my direction, which I luckily managed to avoid”accuses Audrey Cantarelle. “They were destroying all my services, threatening customers”, continues Manu who runs the chip shop located in the parking lot of the Cantarelle cellar. Quickly, the decision to stop all activity on the premises had been taken.

“Saturday, they came to see me and told me that I was going to be happy, because I was going to take a vacation for a month”, testifies Manu. Hear by this that the circus returns to settle on the ground.

A humor that the two workers did not particularly enjoy, who fear having to lower the curtain again. “I have employees and, this time, if I have to stop my activity I will not be able to continue paying themworries Audrey Cantarelle. Not to mention that I rent the land for the fleas. If they can’t be organized, I lose part of my livelihood.”

“I risk putting six employees on technical unemployment”, supports Manu. So they try everything to prevent the trucks from arriving. “I’ve been on the phone for two days, it doesn’t stop. I called the gendarmes, the town hall, everyone…” Animal rights activists were also arrested.

Block the way

The last show at Rousset was scheduled for Monday at 6:30 p.m., raising fears that the anti-circus will arrive in the evening. Earlier in the day, the town hall had already left a bulldozer on the spot. A gesture of support, but probably insufficient to block the passage. On social networks, a call had been launched for “a festive aperitif” to counter the arrival of the Mullers.

“I would like them to go and settle on public land so that the town hall has the legal means to intervene. I can’t even cut off their water, otherwise the animals will suffer”breathes Audrey Cantarelle.

Other ideas were thrown around sometimes for fun (yellow), sometimes out of desperation. A demonstration? Private security guards? Concrete pads? “You still have to be careful. Last time, they threatened to release a tiger”remembers Manu.

Elected officials do not respect their obligation to welcome and let itinerant operators work

We understand the position of the owner of the private land. It’s not a good solution for us either. We would prefer to settle on land offered to us by the City. We have, since this winter, tried to get in touch with the municipality, which did not respond to our three letters. I am always ready to meet the mayor in order to find a solution. As often, the elected officials do not respect their obligation to welcome and let work the itinerant farmers. Once again, we will settle in conditions that are not at all ideal and will have to manage “as best we can””; affirms for his part, Frank Muller, director of the circus.

1. Also president of the circus branch of the Cid’Europe union and member of the National Commission for fairground and circus professions placed under the authority of the Prime Minister.

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