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French Parking Machines Wage a Mini-Revolution

The French penchant for liberté et égalité has once again made itself known—although fraternité in this case is notably missing. The parking ticket machines in the small town of Meaux have an issue with the town's mayor, Jean-François Copé, and have issued a series of anti-Copé messages printed out on the parking slips.

Yes. The parking machines.

The tickets look normal in every way, except for one small addition, noting that Copé is a "bastard, thieving mayor.” Or in a more charitable translation, a “rogue” mayor. Either way, the machines are clearly mounting their own mini French Revolution.

In all, hundreds of abusive slips were issued—an example of which can be seen in this tweet: “Here is the insulting Meaux parking ticket! #RiseOfTheMachines (Eternal gratitude to @Bndct).”

Copé, a former mover-and-shaker in the French Conservative opposition party, Les Republicans, resigned his post last summer amid a scandal over false invoices meant to hide the outsized costs of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy's failed re-election campaign. Rather than go gently into that good nuit, Copé resurfaced in Meaux, which is about 40 kilometers northeast of Paris.

Someone, possibly an employee or ex-employee of the town’s parking contractor (hmmmmmm…) clearly has an issue.

Lise Botrel, communication director for Q Park France, told Le Parisien that a user name and password is necessary to access the computer system, but, “we might have been the victim of a hacker.”

Whether an insider or a hacker (or artificial intelligence!), the digital protest has caught the attention of its intended target. The Mayor's office was, shall we say, less than sang froid about the situation. It has now filed a complaint with the police, who are investigating, and claims that several “extremely shocked” citizens have complained about the less-than-courteous missives.

The French penchant for liberté et égalité has once again made itself known—although fraternité in this case is notably missing. The parking ticket machines in the small town of Meaux have an issue with the town's mayor, Jean-François Copé, and have issued a series of anti- Copé messages printed out on the parking slips.

Yes. The parking machines.

The tickets look normal in every way, except for one small addition, noting that Copé is a "bastard, thieving mayor.” Or in a more charitable translation, a “rogue” mayor. Either way, the machines are clearly mounting their own mini French Revolution.

In all, hundreds of abusive slips were issued—an example of which can be seen in this tweet: “Here is the insulting Meaux parking ticket! #RiseOfTheMachines (Eternal gratitude to @Bndct).”

Copé, a former mover-and-shaker in the French Conservative opposition party, Les Republicans, resigned his post last summer amid a scandal over false invoices meant to hide the outsized costs of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy's failed re-election campaign. Rather than go gently into that good nuit, Copé resurfaced in Meaux, which is about 40 kilometers northeast of Paris.

Someone, possibly an employee or ex-employee of the town’s parking contractor (hmmmmmm…) clearly has an issue.

Lise Botrel, communication director for Q Park France, told Le Parisien that a user name and password is necessary to access the computer system, but, “we might have been the victim of a hacker.”

Whether an insider or a hacker (or artificial intelligence!), the digital protest has caught the attention of its intended target. The Mayor's office was, shall we say, less than sang froid about the situation. It has now filed a complaint with the police, who are investigating, and claims that several “extremely shocked” citizens have complained about the less-than-courteous missives. 

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