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(en) France: Violent repression of peaceful workers' demonstration in Cannes (it)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>, "To:a-infos-en"@ainfos.ca
Date Sun, 16 May 2004 22:46:40 +0200 (CEST)

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During the march, around one hundred demonstrators made a detour and
entered the foyer of a cinema complex, blocking the showings of films
and occupying the Star Cinema for a couple of hours. Some plain-clothes
cops came in to check out the situation, but the foyer was filled with
workers from the cinema industry and everything was calm and going on
peacefully. Suddenly another large group of plain-clothes cops broke in
and attacked the group of demonstrators who were blocking the entrance
to the cinema. They were followed by a group of riot cops. There are
people on the floor being beaten and dragged around - shortly
afterwards it was my turn to be dragged out and I received a few
well-placed kicks. I fell down and scrambled up again quickly to avoid
being nabbed, which I was successful in doing. Four others got
arrested, seven people were injured. One of them, an Italian comrade
from AC! Marseilles is now in hospital, and many others required some
treatment too.

During the sit-in later on outside the police station, we managed to
block a very busy intersection for about an hour and succeeded in
blocking an attack by the riot cops, due to the large number of cars
and buses which were stopped in the jam. We shouted "free our
comrades". A couple of journalists from AFP and France3 film
everything, and one of them is even arrested. Given the huge difference
in numbers, we didn't fancy getting caught and as soon as the street
started clearing a bit we managed to retreat bit by bit. Our comrades
will be released later this evening, though one is still in hospital.

With a bit of patience, you can see some film (nothing great) as part
of a TV news report at:

You can see some photos of the demo and protest at:



on the violent clearing of the Star Cinema in Cannes by riot cops - 4
injured, i seriously

During the demonstration which saw 2,000 people taking part in Cannes
on Saturday calling for the repeal of the Unedic Protocol, we
peacefully occupied the Star Cinema at 98 Rue d'Antibes where a film
was being shown as part of the Film Festival.

While dozens of people handed out leaflets on Rue d'Antibes, a crowd of
demonstrators occupied the foyer of the cinema.

While we were negotiating with the Cannes town council representatives
and representatives from the Festival in an attempt to win the
possibility of obtaining a space of our own within the Festival, half a
dozen men tried to enter the cinema foyer, punching, kicking and
elbowing the demonstrators.

They were unable to get in due to the number of demonstrators, and so
shortly afterwards they charged violently, accompanied by another
half-dozen men, one of whom (apparently their leader) had a
walkie-talkie. These men at no time identified themselves as policemen
and were dressed in plain clothes without any form of external
identification whatever.

During their third charge, they were joined by a company of CRS (riot
cops) and smashed their way into the cinema, beating practically
everyone inside. Many were injured, above by glass splinters from the
smashing wondows as the police broke in.

The police then cleared all demonstrators out of the cinema, but
continued to truncheon them once on the street, even though no
resistence was offered.

At least 6 people were arrested and taken to the police station, 5
people were injured, 4 of whom required hospital treatment. A great
number of passers-by declared themselves willing to give evidence
regarding this unaceptable behaviour. We strongly protest this clearly
illegal and particularly violent police action.

We are fighting for the abrogation of the Unedic Protocol which means
we are excluded from receiving unemployment benefit and which causes an
increase in the temporarization of our jobs.

The announcements made by the Minister for Culture, which have not even
been acted on, are insufficient and do not resolve anything.

However, not even the use of the police against the movement of
temporary cinematographic workers will susbstitute the necessary
political response to our demands: the abrogation of the Unedic
Protocol, a completely open and independent inquiry into the situation
and a sustainable reform of the unemployment benefit system.

We demand the immediate release of and the dropping of all charges
against our comrades!

The temporary and seasonal workers self-organized in Cannes
Saturday 15th May 2004

[demo was supported also by CNT -ed.]

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