Wednesday, July 8th 2009, the police and local Swat team evicted a squat in Montreuil (very East of Paris), the “Clinique”, an empty building in front of an open-air market occupied since january. The inhabitants were making many collective activities, workshops opened to the local population : a cine-club, a street radio, a free canteen, concerts, duties to organize collectively facing welfare institutions, owners and housing problems.
During the evening, a street canteen and a gathering were organized to protest against this eviction, in a pedestrian area close to the squat. At 10 p.m demonstrators headed on to the Clinique, lit fireworks, started to talk to the three guardsmen of the newly walled up squat. In ambush, cops charged at demonstrators without warning and shot them with flashball guns – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash-ball – aiming at their heads. Five people got hit from torso to head. One of them got hit in the eye. Brought in emergency at the hospital, he had a surgery, but his eye couldn’t be saved.
Three demonstrators are still under arrest after 24 hours.
So many people have had irreversible harms cause of the use of those weapons. During the past year, in France, at least three demonstrators have been hit in the eye : a 17 year old college kid in Brittany in a demo past autumn, a toulousan who was taking part to an expropriation in a supermarket this spring and now, our friend.
To get more flashball guns, police argued that those guns were non-lethal and that there use would be strictly supervised. Facts prove the contrary : empowered by their impunity, cops use everyday those guns, deliberately ignoring the so-called “proportional response”, shooting to hurt, often at very close range.
How come journalists, politicians, spoke persons from the police can still be surprised when cops brutally assault poor, precarious, protesters of all kind, targeting their heads and, at the same time be surprised, when not shocked, when those being shot decide to use guns to defend themselves ?
In France, lately, public debates echoed the increase in the number of people sent ot custody under charge of “verbal assault, rebellion, violences” against policemen, after a demo or an ID control. Now another side of police function is clearly enlightened : to terrorize anormals, opponents, to dissuade any disobedience, one’s should shoot in the head.
We’ll never approve that. We call everyone to oppose to this new escalation of police violence.
Rage and solidarity.