Tuesday 3 March 2009
On February 15th, at 6am in the morning, 7 people were place in custody and had their homes searched in Paris as part of an investigation into the support around the rebellion at the Vincennes dentention center, and against the machinery of deportation. Here is some more information and updates about these arrests…
No door was kicked in, and most of the time it was possible to stall for a couple of minutes before the cops entered (and before they threatened to use their bailifs).
In total, 50 cops from the anti-Terror police (SAT) of the Criminal Brigade (aoccompanied by the DCRI, the Financial Brigade, specialists in information technology…) were mobilised for this wave of arrests. Mostly, they were looking for clothes (especially scarves, head gear, shirts, sweat-shirt, shoes), but also leaflets, pamphletes and posters on the subject, and especially those opposed to the deportation machinery. Of course they seized
computers, mobile phones, planners and other notebooks, as well as spray paint, banners (“November 2005-December 2008, the fire continues” and “NO NATO no Taliban, let’s desert the wars of the powerful”). (The cops took lots of pictures of various documents and books…)
Finally, cigarette butts and tooth brushes were taken into evidence for DNA evidence; and even some people were even “asked” for their underwear in vain; and in an excess of zeal a cotton bud swipe of DNA was taken from bed sheets.
Following this, people have been taken for questioning. Hearings were also held for other people present during the searches. Reminding, in passing, that you must go along with it.
To have “no comment”, to refuse to answer the cops and not sign any of their papers while being detained is not so much a position of principle, but is more a practice. In the reality of detention, this is the cops’ time, where all is done to obtain confessions, and everything you say can be used against you. . And despite the pressure tactics of the cops, we know that they have no direct power to prolong the detention or to impose any sentence. In this case, the people in custody did not say or sign anything.
At the beginning of the detentions, the main charges are: “conspiracy to serious and willful damage or destruction”, “damage and destruction by fire or explosive substance” and “criminal conspiracy”.
Actually, the people who were arrested are under suspicion of having participated in the unrest around the trial of those charged with the fire at the Vincennes detention centre, as well as struggles against the machinery of deportations. The struggle has been seen most notably in the occupation of Air France and Carlson WagnonLits branches, “wildcat walks” that include stickering, tagging, the sabotage of bank note distributers (notorious for handing sans-papiers to the cops), with the help of glue, acid, fire and hammers, and banners notably hung on the little Parisian ring. See a chronology of actions here.
While the procedure was, according to various news releases, classifiedas a terrorist investigation, in custody of the prosecutor has decided to reclassify the investigation of criminal corrections, then remove the word
What is targetted is the struggle against the deportation machinery (and against the people who enable it to work), as well as the practices of autonomous self-organisation, as well as direct and anonymous actions.
During the hearings, videos were presented to the accused. It is worth noting that most of the time the camera images (“balls” placed overtop of the distributers) are of good quality: high definition, colour, the possibility to zoom in… About sixty video tapes are already on file. They most definitely are about the damaged bank machines, but also the stickering and tags made during demonstrations (against the Ibis Hotels, the postal agencies, the “BNP” (Bank), “LCL”, Société Générales, Air France…). What will happen when the 1300 promised cameras will be installed on Parisian streets?!
All of those charges refused to give DNA samples (as well as finger prints and photographs), but the cops went to great lengths to find anything that could of been touched by the accused: cups, plastic covers, straws, cigarette buts… and, with great class, a pig even thought of bagging up a menstrual pad for analysis… It’s possible to avoid contact with your mouth (as to not leave too much saliva) various different utensils, or to rub them on the ground to mix up various traces of DNA that are always lying around in the dentention cells. For more information on the refusal of samles and the judicial use of CNA samples, you can consult the site http:/adn.internetdown.org.
After 48 hours of detention, and 10 hours in the police cells, the judge was seen one at a time with the presence of a lawyer/soliciter. Three alternative options were possible: to not say anything, to make an initial declaration, or to answer the judges questions.
For the 4 people who finally went before the court, the bail conditions consisted of a ban on seeing each other and coming into contact with one another, being required to answer to legal summons to the APPE (Association d’Aide Pénale), and not being allowed to leave national territory without previously asking for the judge’s permission.
In the end, 4 people are are now under investigation for “conspiracy to damage or destruction”, 2 people amongst them are also charged with “damage or destruction by fire or explosive substances”. They are still searching for a fifth person on the same charges.
The main function of these arrestes and judicial hearings is to separate and further isolate those who struggle. It also consists of attempting to eradicate certain forms of struggle as banal as stickering, tags and independant/wildcat demonstrations.
To condemn certain forms of action on the pretext that they are directly targeted by the crackdown only strengthens the divisions that the State seeks to impose.
This series of arrests, raids and indictments, apart from the intelligence work done, is just another blow to lobby against any attempt to act and destroy what destroys us. Everything continues!
The kind of situtaion is not just confined to France, given that in Europe there are many acts of rebellion, in detention centres and around.
To learn more on the various struggles that are currently going on, you can consult the followling leaflets:
Brûlons les frontières (Burn down the borders)
Histoire de révoltes dans les centres de rétention en Europe (A history of rebellions in European detention centers)
In Italy, a couple of days after the arrests in Paris, the same kind of repression targetted people suspected of participating in struggles against the “CIE”, in Turin, Lecce, Roverto… Many of them were put into detention and put under house arrest, other were placed under “special surveillance”.
But solidarity knows no borders, and with joy we have recently learned about the attacks against the DAB in Belgium and Spain.
The struggle continues, as normal.
Freedom for all with or sans papiers.