French far-right policemen intimidate police brutality critics

This 2019 video says about itself:

Protesters join a silent march in the streets of Nantes on Saturday, August 3, following the death of a 24-year old man who fell into the Loire River during a police action in June and whose body was retrieved on Monday. The march will be followed by a demonstration against police brutality.

The body of Steve Maia Canico was found several hundred metres from the spot where he was seen for the last time on the night between June 21 and 22, when police forces dispersed revelers at a music festival, allegedly forcing some into the river. Tear gas and batons were reportedly used during the action.

French authorities reportedly said they will block potential trouble makers from accessing parts of the city centre after the Yellow Vests movement said they would join the march.

The Alliance Police is a far-right French police association.

They became infamous for opposing police protection for satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo. A bit later, there was a bloody attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Now, they are in the news again.

By Alex Lantier in France:

French police launch protests outside Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s headquarters

26 September 2019

In an unprecedented decision, the neo-fascist Alliance Police trade union is holding protests today outside the headquarters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Unsubmissive France (LFI) party. Dispensing with the official state tradition that they are an apolitical body with a “duty to be reserved”, police are targeting the presidential candidate who led in working class areas of major French cities in the 2017 elections. These protests, backed by President Emmanuel Macron’s government, mark a dangerous new stage in the emergence of a police state in France.

The immediate pretext of the protest is Mélenchon’s criticism of police as “barbaric” during protests Tuesday against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension cuts. Mélenchon, who is in the courts facing charges of rebellion and assaulting state officials as he contested last year’s police raid on LFI headquarters, warned protesters to be careful. He said, “They are barbaric, they don’t hold back anymore! If I had been at the [‘yellow vest’] demonstration Saturday, they would have killed me, you know, they are waiting for a pretext.”

The sentiment expressed by Mélenchon about the police is widely shared. In France, police have violently assaulted “yellow vest” protesters, arresting thousands and wounding thousands more with stun grenades and rubber bullets, and killed Steve Maia Caniço by pushing him into the Loire River in Nantes during a late-night music concert. Millions have been shocked and outraged at the actions of police. The expression of this view by a prominent politician immediately triggered a hysterical response in the state, however, which is terrified of rising social anger and class struggle.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner effectively gave a green light to the Alliance Police protest against Mélenchon on Twitter. He replied that Mélenchon’s remarks were “An unacceptable insult to our security forces that are mobilized, day in day out, to protect the French people, risking their very lives. Jean-Luc Mélenchon owes them respect, and now he owes them an apology.”

The WSWS and the Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES) have extensively documented their principled political differences with Mélenchon and the … politics of the LFI … . However, Mélenchon must be defended against the hysterical attack launched against him by the Macron government and the police apparatus.

What is at stake is the freedom not only of Mélenchon, but of the entire working class to express its opposition to police crackdowns, and more broadly to social inequality and military-police rule.

After Castaner’s attack on Mélenchon via Twitter, the entire machinery of France’s police trade union bureaucracy was set into motion to target Mélenchon. …

This propaganda is the final product of a longer campaign against Mélenchon, who is awaiting sentencing in his trial for shoving judicial officers during the police search of LFI headquarters last year. The fact that the search of LFI was illegal, since police tried to keep LFI staff from monitoring what information was being taken away from their headquarters during the search, was ignored. However, when Mélenchon got angry and pushed the officers, he found himself facing rebellion charges carrying up to a 10-year prison sentence.

This is part of an international tendency across Europe in which fascistic police forces behave violently and aggressively, trampling basic democratic rights with the complicity of unpopular European governments. In France, the repression of the “yellow vests” and the targeting of Mélenchon testify to the extraordinary concentration of power in the hands of police. Even as they spy on and brutally assault the population, a legal framework is emerging in which any attempt at self-defense against police carries with it the danger of massive legal penalties.

Similar policies are emerging across Europe, including Spain—where the Guardia Civil brutally cracked down on peaceful protesters during the October 1, 2017, Catalan independence referendum and are preparing a renewed crackdown on Catalan protests—and also Germany. There, the entire state machine is protecting various networks of far-right operatives in the security forces, including one that drew up a kill list of several hundred politicians.

Initially yesterday, Mélenchon had launched an appeal on Twitter for LFI supporters to come out to protect LFI staff and headquarters against any eventual assault launched by pro-fascist police units: “Tomorrow a police union is calling protests against LFI headquarters at 11 a.m. Illegal protest. I request the protection of the gendarmerie. I believe the protection of witnesses drawn from the people would be decisive.”

In the face of the campaign against him, however, he decided yesterday afternoon to leave LFI headquarters deserted today as the Alliance Police union officials and members march by. On his Facebook account yesterday evening, Mélenchon shifted his position, warning his supporters against holding any counterdemonstration.

Mélenchon wrote that police “would immediately seize on it to justify committing acts of violence. So the decision of the comrades is to leave our headquarters empty. It’s to say ‘we’re not there’, and I formally ask you: please avoid going through this area. They will try to provoke you and create impossible situations.”

The necessity of pulling back faced with threats of fascist police violence endorsed by Macron is a warning to workers in France and internationally. Powerful, fascistic-authoritarian forces are being mobilized by the financial aristocracy in the state security forces. Their ultimate target is the rising social anger among workers. These forces can only be fought by mobilizing the vast power of the working class …

At this stage, however, Mélenchon retains considerable electoral support, and the Macron government’s attack on him is an attack targeting the democratic rights of the entire working class. The response of class-conscious workers will be to defend Mélenchon against the hysterical police campaign unfolding in the government ministries, TV screens and newspaper editorials attacking him.

French Macron bans protests against police brutality

This 3 August 2019 from Nantes in France is about a rally to honour Steve Maia Caniço, killed by police brutality.

Police have arrested scores of protesters.

Police arrest Nantes demonstrator, AFP photo

By Will Morrow:

French government bans protests against police killing of Steve Caniço

3 August 2019

Amid growing outrage across France at the police killing of 24-year-old after-school carer Steve Maia Caniço during a Nantes music festival in June, the Macron administration is banning protests planned for today and branding opposition to police violence as illegitimate.

Yesterday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner endorsed the decision by the Nantes police prefect, Claude d’Harcourt, to ban today’s protest in Nantes against Canico’s death and the ensuing state cover-up of the police’s role. “I understand perfectly the wish to pay tribute, but I don’t know of any hommages that take place through violence”, he said. “They don’t exist. If some people wish to come and sow violence, and … exploit this event, that’s unacceptable.”

On Thursday, the Nantes prefect placed a ban on protests across large areas of the city. D’Harcourt’s statement noted that a “call for a rally” was “circulating on social media”, and declared without any evidence that the event would be “boosted by the presence of ultra-protesters and extremely radical individuals, of the ‘black block’ type”. These unspecified groups’ “illegal actions exceed the framework of the freedom of protest and the characteristics of a movement advancing demands”, it said.

In other words, the vague assertion that “radical” individuals “of the black block type” are attending a demonstration suffices to declare the protest illegal and brand as criminals all those participating. D’Harcourt threatened a police crackdown, telling a press conference Friday that the “government and the interior ministry have given us everything we required.”

Protests have already taken place in multiple cities across the country. In Lille, between 250 and 500 protested against police violence on Friday evening. In Dijon, 200 people marched carrying white balloons. “What happened to Steve moved me a lot”, one marcher in Dijon said. “That could have been anyone, one of my brothers, a friend. We wanted to pay him tribute.”

Steve Caniço’s badly decomposed body was recovered in the Loire river on Tuesday afternoon. He had not been heard from and been presumed drowned since police carried out a military-style raid on a peaceful techno music festival in the early hours of Saturday, June 22. As the panicked crowd of 200 young people fled the police rubber bullets, tasers, attack dogs and truncheons through a haze of tear gas, at least 14 fell seven meters down into the Loire river, located closely adjacent to the festival on the Wilson quay. Caniço, who did not know how to swim, never resurfaced.

'Where is Steve?' flyers at the Place Royale of Nantes in July 2019 (Photo Credit: GrandCelinien)

The Macron administration is giving the police forces vast powers. On one hand, it is brazenly rejecting the widely-known evidence, including video footage, of the police’s culpability for Caniço’s death; on the other, it is taking the event as an opportunity to threaten workers and youth that the police have a green light to kill those who oppose the government’s policies with impunity.

Thus, Macron justified the police’s attack in Nantes on July 20, telling reporters that “one must not forget the context of the violence that our country has been living through”, concluding, “Calm must be restored in the country.”

Immediately following the discovery of Steve’s body on Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe gave a press conference to whitewash the police’s role, citing an internal “investigation” conducted by the police themselves, via the General Inspection of the National Police [IGPN], into their own actions. The IGPN report, which had been ordered by the interior ministry as part of its cover-up strategy, was dated July 16, but the government had said nothing of it for two weeks until the discovery of the body.

Steve Caniço

Philippe cited the report’s declaration that there was no proof to “establish a direct link between the intervention of police and the disappearance of Steve Maia Canico.” The report denied that there had been a police “charge” or “offensive leap” against the concert goers. Instead, Philippe sought to blame the organization of the festival itself, which had taken place peacefully until its conclusion, when police attacked. He stated that there were “questions as to the preparation for this event.”

These lies are believed by no one and had been exposed well before they were uttered. One of those who fell in the river after being hit by tear gas, 24-year-old Jeremy, told Mediapart: “My eyes were burning, I felt my foot go into empty space. I couldn’t see anything. I tried to swim, I tread water I held onto a cordon the side, I couldn’t see the others fall but I heard them.”

Eighty-nine people at the concert joined a legal suit against the police following the raid. None of these eye-witnesses were interviewed by the IGPN, which relied exclusively on the testimony of security agents.

One of those who filed charges, Romain, a 33-year-old photographer, testified on Wednesday that he had spent hours in the police headquarters and navigated contradictory “instructions and counter-instructions” from the police in order to file testimony with the IGPN. The police have since claimed they could not include his comments, supposedly because they requested another statement from him via email, which Romain says he never received.

Romain was at the event with his girlfriend and her younger sister. “I didn’t even see the police uniforms at the beginning,” he said. What he originally thought was a smoke bomb as part of the concert display “landed at my feet. All of a sudden, we suffocated, and we knew it was tear gas. When I could see again, everyone was running everywhere. I looked for my friend and saw her green dress running toward the Loire. I ran after her and caught her arm 50 cm from the Loire. We turned to get to cover. It’s horrible but at that moment, we crossed people running toward the river. I cried, ‘Don’t go, the Loire is there.’ We couldn’t do anything. I heard the sound of the bodies falling into the water.” The two of them eventually found the woman’s younger sister lying in a state of shock on the ground.

Cell phone footage of the event, compiled in a video by Liberation, shows that the police tear gassing and charge continued as young people screamed that the river was behind and that people had already fallen in. …

The Socialist Party’s Martine Aubry declared that “we cannot be in a country where we doubt the police, it is not possible. It’s truly horrible that in our country, we must wait so many days to find a body and that today there are so many questions to which the official investigations don’t respond.”

Protesters marched in cities across France against police violence and to commemorate Steve Maia Caniço, who drowned in the Loire River in Nantes amid a violent police crackdown on a music festival. Anger is erupting against the government’s unabashed defense of the deadly, unprovoked violence of the police: here.

French Macron endangers curlews, godwits, turtle doves

This 2016 video is called:

Birds of Ireland: The Curlew & its haunting song

Status: Winter visitor to wetlands throughout Ireland, as well as breeding in small numbers in floodplains and boglands.

Conservation Concern: Red-listed in Ireland due to its small and declining breeding population. The European population is experiencing similar problems and has been evaluated as Declining.

A sad situation in France, since the minister for the environment in the Macron administration, Nicolas Hulot, resigned in despair, as he found out that the rest of that administration did not care about the environment, only about billionaires’ profits.

Even right-wing politicians like Annie Schreijer-Pierik of the Dutch CDA party are now worried.

Translated from Dutch CDA member of the European Union parliament Annie Schreijer-Pierik, 26 July 2019:

BRUSSELS – MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik (CDA) sounds the alarm again about the French hunting of protected meadow birds. “The European Commission is now launching an infringement procedure against France for the use of glue traps and standing bird nets in violation of the Birds Directive. But Brussels remains silent about the premature lifting by the French Council of State of a moratorium on the hunting of curlews and black-tailed godwits earlier this month. A few days ago, the French Ministry of the Environment made things even worse by suddenly approving rights to kill six thousand curlews (and thirty thousand turtle doves). “Unacceptable and unheard of in this Year of the Curlew“, says the CDA politician, who therefore asks emergency questions to European Union Commissioner Karmenu Vella (Environment) just before the summer break. She wants to know how the Commission will prevent a possible reopening of the black-tailed godwit hunt and will stop the re-admitted French curlew hunting.

“The French shooting of curlews is in no way justifiable and is contrary to all guidelines,” says Schreijer. “Although the European curlew population is still half a million birds, the numbers of nesting curlews in our country have already fallen by forty percent between 1990 and 2015. It is not for nothing that the bird is on the red list. ”The European Commission stated earlier that hunting for a species of bird should not be reopened if the species in question decreases in number. That is the case with curlew and black-tailed godwit.

Schreijer-Pierik emphasizes that there are no legitimate reasons like combating damage or a credible bird recovery plan in the case of France. That is why the CDA politician is once again asking for sanctions by the European Commission against the French curlew hunting. Infringement proceedings may force France to comply with EU bird legislation.

Schreijer wants the European Commissioner to make clear which side he is on: “Or can big France as the only country in the EU continue to get away with this type of practice?”. Destroying what Dutch, Belgian and other European farmers, agricultural nature associations, bird protectors and governments do for the curlew, warns the MEP. “It involves millions of euros in national and European subsidies for meadow bird management. Or will the European Commission again claim that the decline of the European curlew is the fault of agriculture?”

Part of the reason of decline of farmland birds, along with hunting, is indeed unsustainable Big Business industrial agriculture. Ever since the 1950s, the European Union and its predecessors have stimulated replacing small scale sustainable farming with unsustainable Big Business farming.

The current reform proposals of the EU Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are unlikely to improve environmental protection, say researchers. While the EU has committed to greater sustainability, this is not reflected in the CAP reform proposal: here.