This text, written by an anonymous support group, will deal with the arrest of a constellation of International people in Paris and the unusual circumstances from which it came. This includes the new development of police tactics in demonstrations and the current political climate in France, after nearly two years of `state of emergency`. It is not a conclusive text, and all points are made to the best of their memory, but texts with more concrete information (particularly with police tactics) will follow. There are also points that are not mentioned in this text as they are still to be discussed and of course we cannot speak on behalf of each individual affected.
Originally published by Linksunten
On the 19th of March, there was a demonstration, that had been planned for some time, against state and police violence, highlighted by the rape of Théo and the murder of Adama. It is framed by a long history of riots against structural police violence and a colonialist based state. In this perspective, we have to look back to the movement in the last year and to the struggles all over France. In this moment, there developed the first connection between two movements – one against the racist state, and the other, the `social` movement. This is a new connection between the fighters against invisibility, or, as you can say, the fighters against authority, so the state is responding with all kinds of repression against it and the solidarity shown within the different levels of society.
On this day, a group of seven people travelling (mainly from Germany) to Paris, found themselves at Place de la République. After being watched by plain clothes police, the group of people were arrested.
The strategy of the police was to use the BAC to arrest when the group of people had split up and gone separate ways.
The people arrested were all taken to the same police station and held in the cells there.
The charges were then made apparent:
– Being part of a mob, wearing a weapon and hiding the face (this is considered under French law as a political offense),
– Deterioration of private property,
– Brutality against unknown police officers who did not suffer any harm.
In what is known as a `confrontation`, in which the accused sit with police in the same room with the cops giving their own testimony, revealing their tactics.
The police said:
Two off-duty police officers attended the demo. They spotted some people within the black-bloc. These people stood out to them due to the completely covered way they were dressed, an apparent strong organisation and structure, along with usage of hand-signs as a potential communication device. The cops took photos and video on their smartphones and go-pros. They followed some people until the Place de la République, where they saw a circle form in which it appeared that people changed clothes. These cops informed their colleagues, and they, the BAC and other cops watched a group of people until they were arrested later.
Our friends were interviewed by police and urged by state lawyers to make statements. These interviews were carried out many times a day and throughout the night.
Interpreters were present (most of the time) but mainly took the role of police rather than impartial translators.
DNA, fingerprints and photos were taken from all of the accused. Some were photographed with jackets and hats that had been found on them.
After the more than 48 hour stay, which was highlighted by constant struggle for water, bedding, medicine, access to toilet, food (also vegan food) and lawyers, they were transferred to the central Paris court prison, Palais de justice, for a speed trial.
The court found itself not having enough information on the case, so it decided to postpone the proceedings. It is also possible that the case needed to be postponed due to one of the charges being a ‘political crime’, which could not be judged in a speedy trial.
The state prosecutor and the judges wanted our comrades to stay in prison for ‘investigation custody’ until the next trial date.
They were brought, individually, to a second judge who was to decide whether or not this would happen. In front of this judge, the group admitted to some of the charges.
This judge then claimed to be too tired and annoyed by the proceedings to make a judgement, so passed on responsibility to another judge.
This third judge then also decided she was too tired and annoyed to make a judgement and wished to send the group of arrested to prison. The lawyers fought for the hearings to be postponed to some days later.
Our comrades were split up once more and transferred to different mainstream prisons outside of Paris.
Two days later, five of them were brought back to the courts.
There were different trials and different judges, with different outcomes for each person.
But all five were released that evening.
Three days later, the last two were brought to the courts and released.
All have to fulfill different conditions in France as well as in Germany, for example a prohibition to join demonstrations.
This story is not over. These trials were only to decide whether or not our friends would have to stay in prison for the next months until the trails. They are currently awaiting trial dates, and expect violent sentencing – in the form of uncertain prison terms and excessive fines.
At this stage, they already have high costs from the week of trials.
There will of course be a lot more costs coming up in the future.
All solidarity is needed and welcome.
There have already been rumours and misinformation spreading. This text is only a preliminary step in making this case as transparent as possible to try to curb this. Telling things that are not yours to tell doesn’t do anyone any good, except for the cops.
During these days of incarceration, the arrested people continued to fight against the police and state oppression that had been forced onto them. Although their treatment was as is expected in the violent hands of the state, it must also be seen in the context of their white privilege, in that it cannot have been worse than what is dealt out every minute to the black and p.o.c. bodies inside the prison walls.
The solidarity from outside, within and between was powerful and shook the cold and wet walls of the prisons. Without this, they would still be inside and the struggle would be much harder.
Repressive state structures and the continued violence against those struggling to survive is endemic. This is being challenged daily and solidarity must extend to every corner!
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