City Puts Cages Around Public Benches To Keep Homeless People Off (IMAGES)

In southwest France, the holiday season was marked by an alarmingly inhumane addition to the city of Angoulême. The city’s conservative Mayor, Xavier Bonnefont, decided to put a damper on everyone’s spirit by installing metal cages around public benches – an eyesore with an even uglier message.

Installed on Christmas Eve, Bonnefont had the cages put up to discourage homeless people from hanging around Angoulême, giving them less options to sit and sleep on. This was not only cruel to the homeless – thanks to Bonnefont, no one could use the benches! Surrounded on all sides by the metal fencing, the benches became impossible to access.

Not surprisingly, the metal cages received tons of backlash on social media. Twitter user Sud Ouest posted these photos to spread the word about the cages:

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Even Alexandre Chemetoff, the architect who designed the square with the benches, called the Mayor’s cage public installation “scandalous and inappropriate.” Chemetoff also said the “only safe places left are private ones” and that the cages were evidence of “political failure.”

The city has tried to defend its reasoning behind the obstruction, and have even claimed that the timing of the benches being set up on Christmas Eve was pure coincidence. A city official, trying to justify the cages, said the benches were used “pretty much exclusively by drunks every day.”

Because the public has objected so strongly to the revised benches, the city council has removed the metal cages – although that may only be temporary. Mayor Xavier Bonnefont advises that a final decision will be made on the matter in January.

Bennefont isn’t alone in his efforts to wipe out the homeless from his city – anti-homeless measures are becoming more common. In June, a London apartment building implemented anti-homeless spikes to stop people from sleeping on the ground. In the United States, several cities have created benches that sport an armrest in the middle, with the sole purpose of making it impossible for a homeless person to lay on them.

Featured image courtesy of Sud Ouest via Twitter.