Reportback and 2 videos about two days on the French territory: Nantes and ZAD.
Published by Enough is Enough. Written by Riot Turtle.
Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
Read all our articles about ZAD here.
ZAD NDDL Reportback: Two days in France
After about 12 hours driving we arrived in Nantes on April 14. The city center was full of riot cops, water canons: the full program. In the days before we did a daily live blog and at some point we decided that we have to report on the ground.
Before the first demo started civil cops were harrassing people around the square where the demo would start. They not only checked id’s, but also illegally confiscated things like black jackets and even business cards. Illegally because people didn’t even get a record. They also forced people to be photograhphed with their ID. The authoritarian state and its ugly face.
The first demonstration was a demo in solidarity with the striking railway workers and students. But there were also some Zadists. Macron is getting increasingly nervous, as the actions of striking workers, students and Zadists are more and more connected and May is coming closer. The state wants to remember May 68, which will have its 50th anniversary this year. People are determined to give Macron something to remember: May 2018: Nothing has ended. All is starting.
The demonstration of the striking railway workers started to march but was stopped after about 500 meters. The cops forced the demo to turn left. After about 800 meters the same thing happened again. People were spraying slogans on walls and wheatpasting posters. The mood of the demo was determined but calm. It felt like a kind of warming-up demo for the things to come.
The prefecture was heavily guarded by riot cops and we heard the sound of a few fire crackers. Many people started to mask themselves and the demo marched to the square where the demo started and where the second demo would also start.
When we arrived at the square the demo in solidarity with ZAD started after only a few minutes. The second demo of the day was like the first one, a mix of people that came from different parts of society but most of them didn’t seem to mind that militant activists were marching with them. Many may people are fed up with Macron’s neo-liberal policies and the state of emergency (which was implemented in November 2015).
I was convinced the cops would stop the demo after about 500 meters. At that point there was a large concentration of riot cops and water canons, but I was wrong: The cops didn’t stop the demo. The demo escalated after about 800 meters, the spot where the first demo was also stopped and forced to turn left.
Tear gas, flashbangs, bottles and stones. For about 30 minutes the cops were not able to clear the street. But after that they pushed the people back, meter for meter. But it wasn’t over yet. In the city center a few small barricades were set on fire and a couple of windows were smashed. The clashes lasted for a few hours and in the early evening we decided to drive to ZAD.
April 15: A day at ZAD
We got up early and went to the front line at the Gree. We decided not to make a lot of videos and pictures as we don’t want them to be used by state security to identify people. We did a lot of sound recordings to give an impression of the athmosphere during the battle at ZAD.
The main goal for today was to let the state know that the already evicted areas of the ZAD are not given up. Macron announced that the eviction operation has stopped last Thursday, saying that “the operation has arrived at the point where everything that had to be evicted has been evicted. Now there will be in the following days a mission, under the authority of the prefect, that consists in allowing legal agricultural projects to be realized.” After a wave of extreme police violence injured around 80 people (among them 3 journalists) last Wednesday, the pressure on Macron and prefect Nicole Klein was rising. The police operation was, like in 2012, once again underestimated by the state and the cops had to start an orgie of violence on Wednesday after they didn’t achieve a lot last Tuesday. The Zadists actually kicked their asses.
In the early morning hours on Sunday the cops had occupied a field and after short but intense clashes there was a standoff for hours. Again the people who joined the actions came from different parts of the society. A woman told us: “If you want to do militant actions go to that side, and if you want to resist peacefully go to the other side. Again and again people brought water and some bread and chocolate. Unfortunately people again and again asked for the medics, who worked very well organized and did a great job. A lot of people got injured by tear gas- and flashbang greneades. One of these grenades flew about 30 centimeters from my head on eye-level.
In the early afternoon people started to move around the cops until the state troopers at the fiels were almost surrounded. From the back people carried the framework of a hut and passed the cops in a forest. The hut was carried in a few fields behind the cops and the giant cop army started to move their equipment on a parallel road. Again tear gas and flashbangs and some skirmishes. At the same time the cops were forced to retreat from the field they were occupying in the hours before.
The action with the hut was symbolic to show the state that people are able to rebuild the ZAD again. How long does the state wants to occupy the ZAD? It’s costing hundreds of thousands of Euros every day… In the end the cops destroyed the hut, but the day wasn’t over yet. The cops attacked the people who were on the field that the cops had to give up earlier. The lackeys in uniform had to fight hard for several hours to get the field back.
— Enough is Enough! (@enough14) 15. April 2018
The cops also conquered one of the barricades but didn’t to try to push further. The next barricade was one with a ditch which cannot be passed by their water canons and armored vehicles. It was the point where the eviction stopped last week. After about one hour the cops retreated from the barricade they conquered and left the area. Immediately people restored and strengthened the barricade and builded several new barricades in front of the barricade that they had lost. They moved into the “cop” zone.
In the late night hours several hundred people moved a second hut in the area that was evicted by cops last week. The cops had retreated to regenerate but were forced to come back to stop people from building another hut. Of course the cops attacked and destroyed the new hut but the persistency of the Zadists to do this kind of actions again and again is the real problem for the cops.
Macron and his world are under increasing pressure of strikes, demonstrations and other actions. To open up a new front at ZAD maybe wasn’t the smartest move the Franch state made.
On Monday we drove back home. We learned that the cops still have no chance to defend open areas. Like during the Castor resistance in Germany (against nuclear waste dump sites), or the resistance against nuclear power plants in the Netherlands and Germany in the 1980’s, the cops have difficulties to control resistance in open areas on the countryside. Again and again people just moved around the cops and were able to suprise the cops. Their ability to use their equipment is limited and they can’t forming lines that control kilo,eters of open space.
The struggle for ZAD is far from over and the conncetion between the different struggles is giving Macron and his world a hard time. The chances for an uprising are growing in France. See you on the barricades soon.
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