Paris Official Leads Event Protesting Scientology

Source: Deseret News
Date: October 15, 2005

The deputy mayor of Paris led a demonstration outside the Paris offices of the Church of Scientology, warning parents that young people may be attracted to groups she sees as dangerous. About 100 Scientologists staged a counter-demonstration.

"We have the duty to tell the truth," Deputy Mayor Anne Hidalgo told France Info radio. "These movements are dangerous, we must explain why they are dangerous. . . . We know that at the age at which your character is formed, notably during adolescence, you can fall into the hands of these movements. The problem is that you don't come out unscathed."

About 50 people joined her protest last week, according to a police count.

France has long had a contentious relationship with the Church of Scientology, which is seeking official recognition as a religion in Europe. Hidalgo is president of a committee in France that monitors religious sects.

The Church of Scientology said that "a few virulently anti-religious politicians" were trying to stir up a protest against religious minorities.