In a nonsensical and mean-spirited move, one city in France decided to encase its public benches in impenetrable cages in an attempt to prevent the city’s homeless population from sleeping there. However, the measure also ensured that nobody else could use them, either.
To make matters worse, the city of Angoulême erected the cages on Christmas Eve in a shockingly Scrooge-like display of bad will toward men. Angoulême’s mayor, Xavier Bonnefont, a conservative, sends an alarming message with this action. Naturally, people were outraged when they learned of the now unusable benches, labeling the action as cruel and inhumane.
Not even the designer of the cages, Alexandre Chemetoff, thinks positively of the change He calls the new benches inappropriate and scandalous, and considers them to be indicative of a political failing.
The mayor claimed that the timing of the installation was entirely coincidental. He also attempted to justify it by stating that virtually nobody uses the benches except for homeless drunks. The city has since removed the cages following the powerful public outcry, but it might not last. The mayor says that the city will make a permanent decision in January.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare or isolated incident. Many cities are making efforts to inconvenience or otherwise discourage homeless people from sticking around. One apartment building in London installed spikes on the ground to keep homeless people from sleeping there. In many parts of the United States, cities have begun installing public benches with a center arm rest, making them useless for lying on.