The mayor of a small town in France was brutally beaten by a large group of people armed with metal rods on Sunday evening, according to reports.
Jean-Claude Girard, mayor of Ouges, a commune of around 1,500 residents in the department of Côte-d'Or, was walking down the street when he saw a youth recklessly driving an ATV at a high rate of speed.
"I stopped the young man. I told him that it was dangerous to ride here and that several similar cases had already been reported to us," Girard told Le Bien Public.
When the rider asked, "Who are you?" Girard informed the him he was the mayor of the commune.
"I think the tone started to rise there," Girard asserted.
"He threatened to call his brother."
The rider grew increasingly agitated before storming off, leaving Girard to believe the interaction was over.
However, minutes later, seven or eight suspects "armed with iron bars" pulled in up two cars and scooters and set upon Girard and another local resident, according to Actu 17.
Girard was struck in the head and ribs while the other victim suffered severe facial injuries.
After a witness fired a rifle into the air, the assailants fled the scene.
François Rebsamen, mayor of nearby Dijon, condemned the attack.
"Consternation and anger on learning of the assault on my colleague, mayor of Ouges Jean-Claude Girard. Nothing can justify this violence. To attack a mayor is to flout the values of the Republic," Rebsamen wrote on Twitter.
"The cowardly perpetrators of the attack must be found and convicted."
Authorities have opened an investigation into the incident and are seeking suspects.
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