Gap: Cesaï violently and illegally evicted

On Wednesday 19 August, at six o’clock, police officers broke down the doors of the rooms of the inhabitants of Césaï, the Gap autonomous social centre, with a battering ram. They gather everyone in a courtyard and check their identities. This is the beginning of the eviction from Cesaï.

Results: 43 people outside, 20 staying in campsites, 2 boarded at the station. 43 exiled and homeless people who barely had time to take their belongings and collect food before Cesaï was walled up. 43 people on the Place Saint Arnoux, in front of the Prefecture, soon joined by militants.

A camp is being organized while waiting for a solution that will not come from the Prefecture, which is increasingly afraid of the famous “vacuum effect”. While waiting for a place to sleep and to put down their bags, families, young migrants, Dublin cases and homeless young people are all astonished to find themselves homeless in a few hours.

An eviction in defiance of every rule, every law. The Prefecture was careful not to say that an additional two months was planned by the Court of Appeal of Grenoble after the bailiff’s prior visit, without the forces of law and order, which never took place. Having not been warned, the inhabitants did not express any refusal. It was not an operation within the law but a violent and illegal eviction, carried out with great fanfare. As a bonus, the sarcasm of Mr. Scarcella, a sworn bailiff, who assures to have given the order to leave the place, then lies about the decision of the court of appeal and ends up declaring: “it is your word against mine”.

And now? We need support.

43 people out on the street who’ll need shelter, beds, blankets.

The Prefecture, the Council and the Césaï squat

The old world strives to reproduce. The hunt for migrants continues. One wonders why, moreover, since the Secretary General of the Prefecture declares them illegal – implying that in reality they do not exist – with the result that the State does not have to take care of feeding them, let alone housing them.

That is why this morning, 18 August at around 6am, a flock of Robocops invaded a sleepy squat to throw its inhabitants out on the street. A haughty bailiff preceded the pitiful troop who was acting illegally. Indeed, in order to hunt the inhabitants at dawn, they would have had to have received a command to evacuate the place before a certain date. And if only they had not evicted the squat, the use of public force could have been exercised. However, there was no command, and the hilarious bailiff told the inhabitants that they had only to go to court because they rightly thought that the eviction was illegal. He was hilarious because he knew that he was covered by the prefecture, the Ministry of the Interior and the Presidency of the Repression. He was hilarious because he knew that the judges’ palaces were in recess and that if there was an appeal, the judgment saying that the eviction was illegal would take place in September at best . And that on the same day, from 8:00 a.m. the workers paid by the city council would have begun to wall doors and windows with cinder blocks, cement, beams and other materials. The same evening the affair would be physically settled at the taxpayers’ expense.

The mayor must be gloating! He has reached his goal, to recover the buildings to continue to implement what he pompously calls “the square of the printing press”, certainly he is not at the end of his troubles since there are still businesses that do not want to leave, cinemas that will have to be relocated, residents who do not want to sell. . but finally some exiled evicted and the cinema “the Royal completely closed it’s a good business … And then, wasn’t all this driven by “anarchists” people who do not hesitate to occupy the property of others to house people on the street. The people on the street that they stay there are mostly migrants. Shouldn’t we defend the right to private property – at the cost of people sleeping on the street? Social problems are none of his business. Haven’t there always been poor and rich, the first of the roped party and the others to speak Macronian? The Secretary General of the Prefecture went on to say that if we house all the migrants, it will create a vacuum effect and other migrants will arrive and it will never stop, so that they sleep where they want, it’s not our problem…

The little thoughts and speeches of the “little powerful” are pathetic. They are a concentrate of the ideology of the “right wing”, to say the least. That inhuman ideology that thinks that sleeping on the street is “illegal” and a just thing in any case in accordance with the enforcement of the laws of this country. It doesn’t come to them the idea that nobody is illegal, it is the injustice of applying laws that condemn some people to sleep outside – in all reactionary legality!

The old world reproduces itself in the assumed lie, the giggling illegality, the shameful retreat behind the enforcement of unjust laws.

But let’s talk about the living, those expelled. They couldn’t help but gather up their meager belongings and come out solidly framed by Robocops. An operation lived under the sign of institutional violence that went as far as forbidding them to leave with the food stored in the squat. It took the intervention of a person from “Médecin du Monde” to finally let them take the food away! A long day followed to get organised, to eat and to sleep.

The alive ones are also all the people from associations, trade unions, political movements, ordinary citizens and passers-by who came to support them in Place Saint Arnoux. The hot reaction required this human, intelligent, empathetic support which considers that every person has the right to live with dignity and sleep in safety. A self-organization reaction was set up, a kitchen was set up, cooks and cooks were busy preparing the evening meal. It is decided to sleep without a tent so as not to have them confiscated by the police and so that they can be used tomorrow, probably elsewhere in a safe place. Some people bring duvets, blankets and mattresses. The night is getting ready in a feeling of anxiety and good mood. As an anonymous person said, “They’ve seen others! ».

If the night is going to take place in front of the Prefecture, tomorrow less provisional proposals will be made to continue the welcome of these people already heavily hit in their journey towards a better life.

A new world is certainly beginning in pain, but with the laws of the heart, collective intelligence and perseverance.

Jean-Paul Leroux
19 august 2020

cesai [at] riseup [dot] net

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