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October 27, 2014

In France, Hordes of Clowns Are Ravaging the Countryside and Attacking Citizens, and Vigilante Anticlown Mobs Are Now Forming to Hunt the Clowns

I'm not joking, and I'm only slightly exaggerating.

There is actually a fear that these attacks -- and the growing fear/panic about violent clowns -- will become worse as Halloween approaches.

Fake clown attacks put French police on alert and trigger vigilante response

Residents fight back after spate of incidents thought to be fueled by social media while real clowns are saddened by trend

Anne Penketh in Paris
The Guardian, Monday 27 October 2014 14.58 EDT

French police are on high alert after fake clowns caused panic across France in a spreading phenomenon that has led to violence and a response by vigilantes.

Fourteen teenagers dressed as clowns and carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats were arrested outside a school in Agde, southern France, on Saturday. One provincial newspaper, Dauphine Libere, wrote: "These clowns aren’t funny any more."

In Montpellier, a 35-year-old man was beaten with a metal rod on Saturday night by a man dressed as a clown who tried to rob him with two accomplices. They were arrested the next day.

A 19-year-old butcher’s apprentice, who had dressed as a clown to terrorise children in Douvrin, northern France, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence at a court in Bethune last week....


But the trend, fueled by Facebook and other social media, is spreading -- prompting police to issue a national appeal urging people to report the fake clowns. Meanwhile, some people have taken the clown hunt into their own hands. Police in Bordeaux stopped a dozen youths who were carrying sticks and metal rods and said they were hunting clowns. One was a 12-year-old boy armed with a dagger.

In eastern France, five people were arrested in Mulhouse last week after setting out to catch scary clowns.

More from Le Figaro.

The below translation is weak and over-relies on Google translate. This was just a really tough thing to translate. A lot of words I'd never seen before. I just sort of threw up whatever seemed to make sense.

Police Aren't Laughing Anymore About Alerts About Violent Clowns

bu Jean-Marc Leclerc, Paul de Coustin

The Interior Minister wants an end to the attacks by painted fools which are creating a panic. One of the two [recently arrested clowns] has been sentenced to twelve months of prison... for having attacked a passer-by with a length of metal.

This is not a joke. The attacks against pedestrians led by the false clowns are growing a little throughout France. To the point that the Interior Minister has been required to call a special meeting, bringing together police and gendarmeries, for trying to put a stop to the phenomenon originating in the US.

That's a reference to the creepy-looking clown that's been spooking people in Wasco, California.

...

But in France, the Internet is buzzing now with thousands of rumors of "Hordes of Clowns," ready to attack on Halloween...

For the past two weeks the phenomenon is growing in strength, sometimes degenerating into real aggression. It's sustaining a kind of panic in small towns or neighborhoods, north, south, east, to Perpignan, or Guingamp in the Pas-de-Calais. Monday afternoon at Chelles, near Paris, a 14-year-old dressed as a clown was arrested after he tried to attack a woman. She was not injured "but was put in great fear," said the police told AFP. In Besançon, a student who claims to have been injured Saturday by a clown armed with an ax has filed a complaint.

In the night from Saturday to Sunday, Herault also had a strange burst of violence: a clown damaged a car in Marseillan; three motorists have filed complaints against "frightening clowns" in Palavas-les-Flots, Thézan-lès-Béziers and Cessenon-sur-Orb; a pedestrian 35 years was beaten to death with an iron bar and robbed of his cell in Montpellier by two teenagers and an adult dressed as clowns.

...

Then, still in l'Herault, four juveniles had been arrested in the parking lot of [a high school], carrying guns, knives, and baseball bats. [Are they] hunting clowns?

The situation is in the middle of degenerating into a melee between clowns and anticlowns....

Police are now urging people on social media: "Report the presence of an aggressive clown, by dialing 17 or 112."

"Anticlown" is in the original.

Incidentally, France's national security system is called "Vigipirate," which I imagine came originally from the notion of being vigilant against pirates.

The Vigipirate system is now being used to report both the Clown Menace and Anticlown Mobs.

Note: France has a history of strange fears.

I read someone, forget who, who believed the Great Fear that proceeded the French Revolution was entirely hallucinated. There were rumors that there were gangs of murderers and thieves abroad in the night. So, towns would form anti-marauder posses to patrol around the edges of their towns at night.

The speculation was that people in the next town would see these anti-marauder groups in the distance, and believe that those anti-marauder vigilantes were themselves marauders -- thus "confirming" in their minds the rumors of marauders.

Is Some of This Just Pranking? While there have been actual crimes committed by clowns, it may have all started with a prank.

Content Warning. DM Productions' pranks are pretty gory. All fake, but gory.


As noted in the Spider-Dog prank, it's a good thing these guys are only pranking in Europe, because if they did this in America, the gags would all end the same way: With one dead body dressed up as a clown.

But then, this guy is doing it in America:

So far he's not dead yet.

Thanks to Your Friendly Danube River Guide.


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posted by Ace at 05:45 PM

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