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The gendarmerie’s lies about the circumstances of the shooting of teargas grenade that mutilated Maxime.

Sunday 3 June 2018

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24/05/2018 ZAD press group release

While the gendarmerie’s ongoing operation on the Zad had just committed a misconduct as tragic as predictable, the first reflex of both the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Interior was to whip out as soon as possible in the media the appropriate story in order to cover the facts, justify Maxime’s mutilation and try to counteract responses. Mr. Collomb or the attorney general worked on that immediately in the most affirmative way, without any decency nor any regrets. That’s the way it goes. Beyond general considerations on the brutality of the ongoing police operation, the proven dangerousness of shock grenades and their immoderate use on the Zad in the past few weeks, we wanted for our part to wait until being able to cross different testimonies before being that affirmative about the facts. Today, it appears to us that the government version by which the gendarmes would have thrown grenades in order to get out of a group of about 50 demonstrators who were attacking them with Molotov cocktails is a fiction. The gendarmerie’s communicators could easily check it: each gendarme intervention has been videotaped by their services. According to the testimonies we collected, the tragedy occurred on the contrary in a moment that was described as quiet, when a few dozen people were statically facing the mobile gendarmes for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, the Châteigne habitat was being cleared up behind the police line. There was therefore many gendarmes in front of a reduced group of demonstrators. All of a sudden, an ambushed mobile gendarmes unexpectedly unit came out the bush. They charged at protesters to make them leave the field and cause panic. That sudden charge indeed made the present people turn away towards the sole narrow exit passage at the end of the field. That’s when a series of grenades were launched on a few people at the rear of the group who were trying to escape the charge. After the explosion, a few people turned back and saw the victim standing up with the back to gendarmes, holding his right wrist with his left hand. The victim was then thrown onto the floor and drawn a few meters away. Witnesses reported seeing the gendarmes "clean up" around the victim, take away the pieces of flesh and throw soil on blood traces.

What appears from that set testimonies is pretty clear: contrary to their claims, the gendarmes did not intervene with explosive grenades in order to pull themselves out of a group of assailants and escape a situation of serious danger, but rather to disperse out of a field some demonstrators who were then static and outnumbered. That is unfortunately not all that unusual in that police operation. In the past few weeks, everyone can testify that the GLI-F4 explosive grenades, among other mutilating weapons, were used time and again as a simple tool for dispersion and terror, and not for facing real attacks from opponents. Let’s note, in passing, that from the gendarme side, the only serious injuries in their ranks - in the autumn of 2012 as well as during that second wave of expulsions – were caused by a misuse and the explosion of their own grenades.

We urge to react everywhere to denounce the mutilations caused by the police weapons and the brutality of the operation that is still proceeding on the Zad.