A court in the Corsican city of Bastia has ruled that French is the only language that can be used in public office, thereby banning the use of the local Corsican language, which has approximately 150,000 native speakers.
Beyond the language question, the court stated that local rules that effectively established "the existence of a Corsican people" were also a violation of the constitution.
The Corsican language, which is close to standard Italian, has been banned in the island's local parliament due to the new court ruling that cited France's constitution that only allows the use of French in public life.
The decision has prompted outrage among local politicians and Corsican citizens, with Gael Murat, a Corsican regional councillor, stating that "It is a political decision to prohibit Corsican in the assembly.
It is the glottophobic expression of a Jacobin centralism.
" The ruling comes at a time when French President Emmanuel Macron's administration has been in talks with the island over granting Corsica greater autonomy.
However, it seems that the court's decision will further exacerbate tensions between the Corsican nationalists and the Macron government, as France's far-right parties welcome the ruling.
The Guardian reported that Corsican nationalists argue that the decision was an attack on their identity and a step towards depriving the islanders of control over their own destiny, while Police unions called for the authorities to remain vigilant in case of possible violent protests.