France: 3 busy days on the ZAD

In the afternoon of monday March 5th the tenants of a house at les Ardillières moved out and left the house to the Conseil général (the owner). Two hours later the CG had a company board up the house. A few squatters came by and decided to have a word with the workers. Three cops show up and the squatters decide to call their mates. About twenty people show up and decide to squat the house. The workers and cops move out and call backup. The police had their tires stabbed.

At 7 PM 5 sections of riot cops arrived (from the direction of la Paquelais) who escorted the local gendarmes who first beat everyone out the garden and next evicted the house violently. A physiongnomist called several people by their supposed names. Several people got injured.

Outside about 80 people faced the lines of riot police in support of the 6 people who remained on the roof and who could not be evicted because the police didn’t have the right equipment. Amongst the people in the garden and the house 4 where arrested. All were released the next day. One person has a “composition pénale” for “occupation en réunion”, two others have no consequences and a fourth we have to check. In la Paqulais and Vigneux and possibly in Fay de Bretagne the police diverted the traffic.

Fires where started in front of the police lines at both sides of the house and after 20 minutes the fire brigade showed up and while being insulted for being collaborators, they started to put one fire out. They soon gave up and didn’t bother putting the other fire out. At 23h the police retreated. Before leaving the house they cut shower hoses, all electric wires of the heating and broke the drains under bathroom sinks. While pulling back they took some projectiles from the crowd and gassed many people.

On Thueseday the Presse Ocean reported that at ten thirty the cops evicted the house. By four PM about 70 riot police showed up as well as a dog brigade and the DCRI (Olivier Robin at least) The police tried to move in quick before the squatters could climb the roof. The ground floor was not barricaded and the passage to the second floor was covered with a board with stones on it, which allowed people to reach the roof. Through a small hole in the board they gassed before attaching a winch which caused major damage to the stairway. Everyone present was on the roof and no-one was arrested inside the house.

Barricades where thrown up on the three roads leading to les Ardillières. The cops moved out to the barricades and arrested the first person they could on all three, mostly sending the rest of the people running. Before leaving the house the police gassed the rooms with pepperspray. During the whole operation (also outside) they filmed extensively. We don’t know why they showed up without the needed materials for evicting the roof, potentially it was considered exercise or for filing information. During the two days we also saw a blue civil car with two cops in uniform circling on the ZAD.

One person arrested near a barricade had their fingerprints taken by force. This person got asked typical questions about their political ideas and whethere they belong to the mouvement.

They were shown a list of 6 portraits (including one of themselves) and asked to comment on it. The person remarked they all looked alike which the cop happily wrote down. He had asked the witnessing police to recognise the person who they saw committing the offence and the fact that the arrestee admitted they all looked alike meant they had done a good job getting a fair witness statement. When he came out of the cell the cops took his fork saying they would join it to the file for DNA extraction, on request of the public prosecutor. Before releasing him they said that finally they wouldn’t extract the DNA because there was no prosecution after the arrest.

When the police in another station were confronted with a person who refused to give an ID and fingerprints, they called the prosecutor for instructions. They read out a file on the person saying they have been on NDDL for 7 months, takes part in most actions, are non-violent…

On Wednesday riot cops showed up in the morning to find an empty house. They were accompanied by Malleux of the CG and workers of EDRF to cut the power supply to the house. Malleux instructed the workers of ERDF to cut the power of the neighbours house, another squat opened about a year ago. The inhabitants intervened and when journalists showed up the CG gave up the operation.

In the mean time elsewhere on the ZAD two squats where raided by the police who where searching a person, maybe in relation to events of the two days before. Breaking windows to get in and controlled all present. In the van parked up front they pissed on the bed, stabbed 3 tires and stole musical instruments.

The whole day the helicopter circled the zone. In the afternoon after workers boarded up the house 2 security guards (Optimum security?, tele surveillance?) were posted in front of the house with a contract at least until the end of the weekend. They call the police when they feel threatened and one night it took the cops 4 minutes to arrive.

The helicopter has served amongst other things to find piles of tires and other barricading materials which the police started to remove in late afternoon with the help of a tow truck.

About 20 people went to the police station of Blain to ask the liberation of the arrested comrades. An arrested person could hear the police running around in panic, saying they were being assailed by 50 anarchists and claiming they had left their pepperspray in the car. The police refused any cooperation and peppersprayed everyone in the reception, including themselves and the pregnant secretary. Feeling under siege they called backup and at least 7 vans of riot police came from the direction of Nantes. On arriving at the police station, most people were leaving, one of the cars did not start and so the police managed to pull 2 people from the back of the car by their hair, who were arrested and taken to Chateaubriant (charges: Constitue une rébellion le fait d’opposer une résistance violente à une personne dépositaire de l’autorité publique en réunion). They appear in court in St-Nazaire on the 15 th of juin. After that they closed the gates of the gendarmerie with a chain, forming a line of riot police inside.

In the police station a few interesting things have been remarked. The police of Blain has a briefing every first day of the month before ten AM. They have 3 sections: Violence in schools, two wheels and Notre dame de landes. On a whiteboard they had a meeting marked down from the 3th of March in la Vache Rit. “Public meeting 14h30-16h30.” (meeting of a group that holds weekly pickets in Nantes in front of institiutions that promote the airport) They also had biotope rounds marked. As well as a shopping list with two thermos flasks for the long rounds on NDDL.

In total there were 9 arrests. Some people have been taken as far as St-Nicolas de Redon, Chateaubriant and others to Blain and Guémené-Penfao.

[published on the ZAD website]