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French President Emmanuel Macron called for calm in Corsica after a Corsican independence figure died of his injuries resulting from a prison attack, a death that some worry could spark unrest on the island, Euronews reported.
Yvan Colonna died Monday after being in a coma for three weeks. The nationalist figure was attacked by a “jihadist” inmate at a prison in Arles in southern France.
He was arrested in 2003 and was serving a life sentence for the 1998 assassination of Claude Érignac, a senior Corsica official.
Colonna’s attack ignited violent protests on the French island that left more than 100 people injured, including 77 police officers. French officials have raised concerns that his death could result in further violence.
Following the announcement of his death, hundreds of people held a peaceful demonstration in the capital of Ajaccio. Officials from Spain’s restive Basque and Catalonia regions also offered their condolences.
Many independence campaigners had long called for Colonna to be transferred from the mainland prison to the island. They accused France of “state responsibility” for the attack.
The incident, meanwhile, has sparked debates in France over Corsican autonomy ahead of next month’s presidential elections.
Macron vowed there will be “consequences” for Colonna’s death, while other officials said an investigation will hopefully shed light on the events that led to his death.
Even so, the president’s opponents have accused his government of weakness in the face of violence on the island.