Reportback about yestedays Gilets Jaunes Act 4 actions in Nantes, French territory.
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.
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For a week, the entire political class and media have done everything to create fear: anxiety, preventive arrests, announcements of civil war, unprecedented repression against high school students. Everything has been put in place to deter Saturday’s demonstrations.
However, in Nantes, like all over France, the slogan “Macron resign”, chanted by tens of thousands of people, has been repeated tirelessly in the streets of many cities. Neither the massive arrests, nor the mutilations, nor the rains of grenades succeeded in extinguishing the revolt. And if the “chaos” which was so often announced by the government did not take place at the spots where it was expected because we feared the militarized repression, it has been clearly answered. 1700 arrests in one day. At least 3 people shot in their eyes. A hand torn off in Bordeaux. Thousands of grenades. A balance sheet of war. A war waged by the government against its own people.
In Nantes, a wave of yellow vests, joined by the Climate March, started at 14H from the tram crossing. Under the gusts of the wind and the pouring rain, there was a crowd of almost 8,000 people. At the front there were many young people: students, high school students and precarious workers. They gave rhythm while a heterogeneous crowd of thousands of yellow vests, reds and greens of all ages filled the street. The House of the People (La Maison du Peuple), the yellow vests of Saint-Nazaire were also present and they were very determined. But after a few hundred meters, the demonstration was blocked by the police. In front of the prefecture.
A real provocation. CRS lines in front of and on the sides of the demonstration: a mousetrap. It was not a question of channeling or even repressing this manifestation, but simply prohibiting it. To to nip things in the bud with no escape. A flood of grenades fell quickly on the procdemonstration. On a very diverse, creative crowd, even families were taking part. The first ranks, protected by shields, received rubber bullets from shotguns. Explosive ammunition, GLI F4, was also launched without warning, causing a crater in the lawns in front of the prefecture.
We have calamitous weather for weeks in Nantes now and it has shown its good sides. Showers make the potential use of water cannons ineffective. The wind quickly dissipates the gases that are massively used. The squalls and low clouds also dissuaded the helicopter to fly over Nantes: it stayed only a few minutes in the air before disappearing again.
After some clashes, the demonstration was harassed by the gas along the whole route. But the repression did not blunt the determination of the protesters. By its violence, the police just managed to create an uncontrollable situation: the breakup of the demonstration into several small groups going in all directions. A fiery barricade at Commerce, then Chaussée de la Madeleine. An angry demonstration in the most exclusive streets of Nantes, Calvaire, Graslin and Crebillon, breaking several windows of luxury shops. A group entered the station, usually heavily guarded, going as far as the train tracks at nightfall. A few hundred people returned to the prefecture, while the police had gone elsewhere. It was said that a molotov cocktail was thrown on the facade. Groups with yellow vests wandered from the Christmas market to the Quai de la Fosse. During the night, detonations of grenades echoed throughout the city. 13 people were arrested. Our reporters have also seen a staggering number of rubber bullets. Without a doubt, several dozens.
What is new is not that a brimming event took place in Nantes, whose streets got pretty used to revolt and teargas in recent years. What is new is that the same scenes took place simultaneously across the country. From Marseille to Toulouse, via Bordeaux, Lille or Saint-Etienne. Despite the police state. The government will not be able to govern indefinitely with Flash-Balls. The people want the fall of the regime. And it’s not about to stop!
Nantes Révoltée, December 9, 2018
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