Far-left extremists are believed to have been involved in the sabotage of power lines in the southern commune of Villard-Bonnot that saw over 5,000 people go without power early Tuesday morning.
Over the period from Monday night into Tuesday morning, a total of 5,539 people in Villard-Bonnot were without electricity after nine power lines were allegedly set on fire on the Brignoud bridge, which crosses the Isère river near the city of Grenoble.
It has been suggested the fires may have been a deliberate act of sabotage by far-left extremists, who are also suspected of the arson of another power station in neighbouring Froges the night before. An anarchist symbol was reportedly left at the scene, French newspaper Le Dauphine reports.
France: Far-Left Antifa Extremists Possible Suspects in Mass Sabotage of Internet Infrastructure https://t.co/ydwvfFowXn
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 8, 2020
A source told the newspaper that they believed the fires in Villard-Bonnot were a continuation of the arson from the previous night.
Businesses have also been affected by the incident, including the French semiconductor company Soitec, which had to temporarily close its factory in the area.
Thomas Piliszczuk, Soitec’s executive vice president for global business, stated that the closure will not have a significant impact on the company, but expressed concern the alleged attacks may be targeting semiconductor companies.
“The incidents of the last two days have occurred outside [semiconductor] companies. Everyone recognizes that we are a strategic industry for the country but we see that today malicious acts, and attacks can target this industry, so we need a collective reflection to achieve the security of the entire supply chain of industrial sites,” he said.
STMicroelectronics, another semiconductor company, was also affected by the alleged acts of sabotage but said they had their power restored on Tuesday and were gradually restarting their facilities.
Far-left French anarchists have taken credit for two arson attacks on a telecommunications company in the latest act of infrastructure sabotage claimed by far-left militants. https://t.co/EApl0HfoJU
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 27, 2021
Far-left extremist anarchist attacks on infrastructure in France have been an ongoing phenomenon for several years in some regions of the country. Last year, anarchists took credit for two arson attacks on telecommunications infrastructure in communes that were also near the city of Grenoble.
“We want to salute all the arsonists who are acting in the shadows at the moment and repeatedly beating this technological hell,” the extremists said in a statement posted online.
In 2019, local prosecutor Eric Vaillant stated that far-left extremists in the Grenoble area had been behind at least 12 arson attacks between 2017 and 2019 and in 2020 extremists were suspected of being involved in an attack on a broadcast relay that left many in the Grenoble area without mobile internet or telephone service and affected several radio broadcasters.