Two men went Friday morning to their summons to the gendarmerie, under the encouragement and applause of the demonstrators, noted an AFP journalist.

Beforehand, six interrogations under the regime of police custody had been carried out on Wednesday and Thursday in this gendarmerie, according to the president of the Federation of hunters of Ariège, Jean-Luc Fernandez.

Information that the prosecution refused to confirm.

“It’s intolerable to find yourself in this position. It was the bear who attacked the hunter, and not the opposite, killing her was self-defense”, was offended Jean-Jacques Méric, mayor of Caumont, a small town in Ariège.

“We have nothing against the bear. We are after the state, which only has to do its job. And these police custody are shocking, we are treated like criminals”, continued the elected official. , also a hunter.

The case dates back to November 20, 2021. During a hunt to flush out wild boars, on the heights of the village of Seix, a 70-year-old hunter killed a bear who had just attacked him and injured his leg.

The gendarmes’ investigation will have to determine the course of the facts and whether the hunt took place in an authorized area.

For the president of the Hunters’ Federation, there is no doubt: justice will vindicate the hunter.

For the president of the Ariège Chamber of Agriculture, Philippe Lacube, the situation is “unbearable”: “We are directly attacking the men and women of these mountains”, he said, considering that in the cases related to bears, hunters and breeders are systematically treated with a “presumption of guilt”.

Also present at the rally, the president of the department of Ariège, Christine Téqui, denounced the “responsibility of the State” in this affair.

“The situation will happen again. This time there was an injury, tomorrow there will be a death,” she warned, demanding to “regulate” the population of bears in the Pyrenees.

In the 1990s, France initiated a program to reintroduce plantigrades from Slovenia when the bear population in the Pyrenees was threatened with extinction. They are now about sixty.