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Police officers seen in Grenoble, southwestern France, on January 24, 2017. In late January 2019, an anarchist group attacked regional French public radio station France Bleu Isère and a transmitter for the broadcast company TDF. (Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP)

French radio station burned in arson attack, anarchist group claims responsibility

February 4, 2019 10:09 AM ET

The Grenoble office of regional French public radio station France Bleu Isère was partially destroyed in an arson attack on January 28, 2019, according to the broadcaster. On January 30, a local anti-capitalist anarchist group claimed responsibility for the attack, the station reported.

Local firefighters received word of the fire around 2:30 a.m. on January 28, according to the station. No one was injured in the fire, but much of the office's first floor was destroyed, as shown in photos the broadcaster posted on social media.

The station missed its daily 6 a.m. broadcast, but resumed its programming at 5:30 p.m. from the studio of France 3, another local public radio station, according to French daily Libération.

In a January 29 blog post, an anarchist group claimed credit for attacking the radio station on January 28 and for attacking a transmitter for the broadcast company TDF on January 29 in Haute-Jarrie, near Grenoble, according to France Bleu Isère. The blog said, "many criticize the media, however few pour gasoline on their buildings to set them on fire."

Eric Vaillant, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation in Grenoble, told CPJ in an email that traces of gasoline were found on the premises. He also said that the same anarchist group has claimed responsibility for 12 similar attacks on public institutions have taken place in the region since 2017, including an arson attack on a police station.

Léopold Strajnic, editor-in-chief of France Bleu Isère, was quoted in Le Monde saying that the station had not received any specific threats before the attack.

Immediately following the attack, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted, "To attack those who inform us is to attack our democracy," and promised that all means necessary would be used to find the perpetrators.

Editor's Note: This text has been updated to include Vaillant's response to CPJ.

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