Last week saw a new wave of repression targeting anarchists in France, with raids occurring almost simultaneously in several locations. On March 27 in Toulouse, two houses were raided and two people were placed in detention, but they were taken 300km away to the city of Limoges. These two people were released 38 hours later, after a long interrogation on their political positions and social networks.
At the same time, there was also a raid in Limoges itself, and one person was placed in detention, while 500km away in Amiens their family was also facing a raid and interrogations. This person has been placed under an order for up to one year of investigative custody that can then be renewed.
The next day, March 28, the little town of Ambert saw raids against three houses. Two people were placed in detention and they’re now also held in investigative custody for up two four months, renewable twice. The charges mention mischief in an organized group; the investigation is still ongoing.
The information released by the mainstream media so far only mention Limoges, invoking the arson of several vehicles at its gendarmerie compound. Let’s recall that during the trial for the burned police car last October, there were incendiary solidarity actions all across France, notably in Toulouse, Clermont Ferrand, Limoges, Grenoble, the Paris area, Marseille…
Based on what was said during the interrogations of the two people from Toulouse, we can gather that there has been audio surveillance and physical surveillance over several months during a judicial investigation that was then followed with a surveillance warrant, opened October 20 2017 and renewed December 13 2017. It’s safe to assume that this surveillance doesn’t only concern those interrogated or only these cities.
It seems that the state is using the vague designation of ‘criminal association’ to try to criminalize people’s relationships, the sp acesthey visit, their ways of organizing, their political ideas and practices. This gives them a lot of leeway of who they can implicate: eating in a squat, using secure mailing lists, participating in actions, organizing meet-ups, playing sports together, communicating, or moving around.
However, dealing with repression is nothing new and over these past few years in France, prison has become more and more concrete for anarchists and anti-authoritarians.
Following the burning of a police car in 2016, several people were imprisoned. Among them, one comrade has now been in prison for over a year, with a five-year sentence of which they will serve half. The prison administration has been trying to make his stay particularly difficult through disorienting transfers to new cells or institutions or by depriving him of visits and mail. Along with this, other comrades have been locked up in connection with the struggle against the nuclear dump site in Bure. Another person spent a month in prison before being released with a four-month conditional sentence, while three others are still in prison, including one person inside since November, sentenced to eight months, and two others sentenced to three.
At the end of 2017, some squatters got a taste of prison for …squatting. The state has found a a new way of preventing squattingthrough the use of burglary charges. Three people spent a week in jail over this, while another was inside for four months. The prosecution was seeking a year custodial sentence against this person, but at the last minute the judges decided to sentence him to two months custodial and fo ur months conditional. This meant that with his pretrial detention, he spent two months more in prison than he was sentenced to.
It’s important to remain clear about our solidarity and to continue to struggle and stay solid, to defeat these judicial strategies. And let’s remember that solidarity knows no borders and that the French state,with its wide cultural and economic reach, is present in the four corners of the world.
We’re all criminals. So join the association!