Translated by Act for freedom now!
Report and reflections on the March 1 gathering in Belleville metro
Saturday 1st March 2014 there was a callout for a gathering at 15h at Belleville metro station against the police occupation of our lives. Before the rally, traders had been warned by the mayor that casseurs [thugs] would be present in the neighbourhood, so some closed their shops early, others hired security for the occasion. We learned a few days earlier in the press that a fake release from the Paris town hall had announced a state of siege. Also, for several hours, the area was beseiged as never before: dozens and dozens of CRS cars and buses and mobile gendarmes, police cars, a city under siege, cops on the roofs, a camera installed for the occasion on the roof of the CFDT [union] headquarters (so with its collaboration), Belleville metro station closed, dozens of plain clothes cops, dozens of RG undercover surveillance cops, journalists (some present in Belleville since Thursday), etc.
Just before the rally, CRS and plain clothes cops controlled and searched the bags of anyone resembling an “anarcho-autonome” around the Belleville metro, thus discouraging the less enthusiastic and militant tourists, many of whom turned back or stayed burrowed in bars in the neighbourhood. A strategy usually reserved for counter-summits, probably due to a desire to prevent further humiliation after the rioting demo in Nantes a week earlier at all costs (by the way, the cost of 1st March must be considerable!), which certainly succeeded in deterring many.
Despite all this, the encounter certainly took place, with from 100 to 150 people (including quite a few locals). Several banners were placed: “Let’s break their peace (A) Social War”, “We don’t like the police, we just want to live free (A )”, “Work is the worst policeman, let’s destroy both.” Posters were pasted up, and thousands of leaflets (“No really, you like cops!”) and newsletters (Lucioles [Fireflies] No. 15) are distributed with quite a bit of enthusiastic feedback, about a dozen smoke bombs are cracked to cries of “cops pigs murderers”, “down with the State, cops and bosses”, “brick by brick, wall by wall, we will destroy all prisons”, “ZSP, BST, kick all cops out by the ass” “Belleville like elsewhere, fuck off cops” and “fire fire fire to all prisons”, “fire fire fire to the detention centres”
To our knowledge, nothing more than ID checks before, during and after the encounter, and no arrests or detention, contrary to predictions and criticism of some feeble characters accusing the demo of sending people to the slaughter.
This rally had been announced since mid-January, around 5000 posters were put up all over north-east Paris and suburbs, thousands of leaflets, newsletters and masses of different anti-cops-prison-justice fliers handed out in the streets, so much so that it was impossible for anyone in the area to ignore this rage, also tags calling to the demo, and a dozen banners put up here and there around the neighbourhood and beyond.
For several months, many attacks targeted the police and the law: police stations, municipal vehicles, businesses that collaborate with prisons, the law and control (see a chronology here). This shows how widespread the hatred of the trio police, the law, and prison is (and a good number of people do not wait to attack).
But this day and its preparation did not come from nowhere, as it was part of a commitment to spreading anarchist ideas and practice in the North – East area of Paris that has gone on for several years. So it was just one moment among others in a dynamic of anarchist agitation that continues, strengthened.
This idea of a public gathering started to take form after the cops’ harassment of anarchist activities in the street became more oppressive from the end of last summer, in an (unsuccessful) attempt to prevent our ideas spreading. This was exemplified by strong state supervision on comrades participating in this agitation, about twenty controls during leafletting or flyposting, some resulting in detention, but also by pressure from Correspondents de Nuit [Sort of mediators, named “night correspondents”, hired by French municipalities with the aim of interacting with inhabitants and reducing violence in the neighbourhoods using dialogue and daily help] (who also filed a complaint for defamation against a leaflet, for which summonses and searches took place), quickly supported by the rabid bulldogs of the BST, trying to establish a private war between them and us. A private war which is only a small part of the war on the poor and the undesirables that these shits are paid to do: hunting prostitutes and hawkers, seizing sans-papiers [undocumented immigrants], a war on non-authorised markets, housing evictions, all accompanied with beatings with truncheons, jail and artists of gentrification of districts supported by the town hall.
A few weeks before March 1, a revolt took place in Vincennes detention centre for which two detainees and two comrades who’d come to express their solidarity during a wild visit with fireworks, were held. And even if the two comrades got out a few days before the demo, these umpteenth arrests only made everyone all the more determined.
We know that what the cops fear, far more than a few anarchists, is the encounter between these anarchists, their ideas and practices, and widespread social rage against power and domination.
Today we managed to go beyond the boredom of this private squabble, raising our heads to speak of social war without fear. And we are pleased to see that they are scared, because it’s from their insecurity that we can build our freedom.
For a world without cops, without money and without authority.