Verbalized for having sung in Montmartre, the singer Veronica Antonelli, "stunned and angry", denounces a "grotesque situation"

Verbalized for having sung in Montmartre, the singer Veronica Antonelli, “stunned and angry”, denounces a “grotesque situation”

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The singer Veronica Antonelli was fined by a police officer for having sung in front of the Sacré Coeur, in Montmartre, at the end of July. The lyrical singer intends to challenge her fine, considering that the police officer has shown “abuse of power”.

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On August 17, opera singer Veronica Antonelli receives a letter in her mailbox: a fine of 68 euros for “emission of noise affecting the tranquility of the neighborhood or the health of man”. The facts date back to Saturday July 30. Around 5 p.m., when she was finishing her interpretation of an air of Puccini at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur, in Montmartre, a policeman “ask to stop singing, [s]the papers and [s]written permission”and shows her that he filmed her, she says.

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“I’ve been doing this for nine years, this is the first time it’s happened to me”notes Veronica Antonelli, who says “stunned and angry”. Since 2014, the Franco-Italian singer has performed “Montmartre Enchanté”, sung and commented tours of the heritage on lyrical tunes and a capella. “I sing all year round on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Montmartre. […] The town hall of the 18th arrondissement knows me. But I had never been told that I needed written authorization otherwise I would have complied”explains the one who claims to have only obtained oral authorizations so far.

This July 30, Veronica Antonelli is accompanied by her teenage daughter, three elderly people, a photographer and Mike Borowski, a journalist-youtubeur who came to capture images. The latter describes a policeman “quite aggressive”, that he decides to film “to have proof”. His video, which he broadcasts on Twitter, is widely relayed and provokes outrage.

“The policeman started to butt heads with the journalist. He considered that he was insulting him, that he was threatening him when this was not the case”says the singer. “It was quite violent. He lectured us, yelling: ‘I’m the boss!’, ‘You’re out of the law'”remembers Mike Borowski.

The policeman then decides to call for reinforcements. “It was not with my stilettos that I was going to escape”quips the singer. “Five police officers arrived and surrounded us. I was scared”she confides. She also explains that the policeman allegedly “threatened” to take him to the police station and “of [la] keep as much time as he wanted”which would have frightened her daughter. The policeman ends up writing a report, which she refuses to sign.

“The situation is grotesque, it should never have happened like that. This gentleman had an excessive assessment of the situation. It’s abuse of power”indignant Veronica Antonelli.

The cabinet of Nicolas Nordman, deputy in charge among other things of the municipal police, speaks of a “miscalculation of the national police on the ground” against a singer “inscribed in the local landscape”. She explains that she received “apologies from the town hall” of the 18th arrondissement the next day. And on August 2, the police headquarters sent him a written authorization authorizing him to perform in certain places in Montmartre on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons for two months.

Veronica Antonelli inscribes her art in “a process of reappropriation of public space” that she tries to make “caring”. She says she is all the more shocked by this “symbolically very violent repression” which, according to her, “questions on the place of culture” in France.

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