On February 22nd, 2014, more than 50,000 people gathered in Nantes for the biggest anti-airport demonstration ever. As it was declared illegal by the prefecture, it quickly faced stunning repression; hundreds of over-armed cops surrounded the demo while a huge anti-riot wall blocked the central street of the city (le cours des 50 otages). It was the first time in Nantes’ social struggles history that a demo couldn’t pass by there. Politicians and media talked about “lootings” and “devastations”, deploring the violence after a group of demonstrators attempted to walk the original route.
However, the Power and its accomplices failed to mention the extreme ferocity in the crackdown on this demonstration. On February 22nd, hundreds of people were hurt by police weapons. At least three of them lost an eye from rubber-bullet shots. A lot of people breathed tear gas, were shaken up from stun grenades, or wounded from dispersion grenades, or repulsed by water cannons.
A few weeks later, on March 31st, media exultantly declared a first “dragnet” following a special police force’s investigation. Nine comrades had their houses searched and were arrested in the early morning. Two of them were immediately released, as one of them was not even in Nantes on the day of the demonstration. Four others couldn’t prepare their defense since they were sent to the court through the immediate arraignment procedure. Sentences are as heavy as the records are empty: indeed, the only real evidence the prosecution had were the confessions of the accused. Three of them have been condemned to prison terms without remission. During this parody of a trial, judge Tchalian did not hesitate to double the prosecutor’s requisitions and put our comrade Enguerrand directly in prison. One year in prison without remission for some stones and smoke cans.
The purpose of the repression from police and the justice system that the anti-airport movement is now facing is only to terrorize those who revolt and start fighting against capitalism’s hold on our living spaces. It is to psychologically and physically touch a social movement, to mutilate and incarcerate some of us to reach all the others. The sentences and mutilations of the 22nd of February are not only an application of laws or peacekeeping techniques—they are deeply political. This real state terrorism expresses clearly what must be expected for those who resist.
Today, Enguerrand, Quentin, Damien, Emmanuel, Philippe, J. and G. are its victims. It could have been any one of us. According to the State and its so-called justice, taking part in a demonstration is sufficient to justify the loss of an eye or a prison term.
We shouldn’t step back as we are facing such violent repression. By doing so, we would only prove their case. The best support we can give to our wounded and incarcerated comrades is to keep on fighting. Our struggle has never been so powerful, and we have never been so close to realizing a future without concrete. More than ever, we must keep on fighting and not give anything up in the struggle against the airport and the world that produces it.
Against the assassin Power that mutilated and incarcerated, we have a weapon that it cannot take back. In a letter, on April 8th, Enguerrand stated: “The strength of activist solidarity cannot be defeated,” and indeed, we agree. Actions in support of those wounded and accused in the struggle have already been diverse and numerous, modeled on the diversity within the movement. Infinite are the potential actions. Organize a concert or a fundraiser to financially support the accused and their families. Call for a demonstration (“peacefully helmeted”? —a reference to the “Flashballes” song) to express revolt against police crimes. Cover the walls with painted slogans or posters to make sure that no one ignores what is happening…
Every initiative is welcome to bring reassurance to our comrades and remind the Power of our rage and determination. Against the conniving silence of the media spectacle, we can only rely on ourselves to make “justice” a meaningful word again. We strongly encourage every solidarity action against repression of the anti-airport movement, no matter whether it happens in Nantes or anywhere else, today or anytime.
No justice, no peace!
Solidarity with the wounded and the accused!
No to the airport and its world!
DEMONSTRATION Saturday, May 17th, 2014 at 3pm – Nantes prefecture
To write to the support committee for Enguerrand or to sign this call: soutien.enguerrand(at)riseup.net