Monday, December 05, 2005

Just Who Was It Fighting Off the Cops?

The following three items are from A Toutes Les Victimes, a website set up to keep track of and respond to the repression in France:

First off, some bad news:
As of December 2nd, 75% of rioters who have appeared in court have received prison sentences, according to Le Parisien et le Nouvel Observateur.
Le chiffre

So who are these people who are getting sentenced?


According to figures from the Minister of the Interior, as of November 30th 4 770 arrests had been made, and almost half of these were after the incidents in question had taken place. Of these, 4 402 people were taken into custody. 763 individuals, including over 100 minors, were imprisoned.
According to the Minister of Justice, 422 adults were sentenced after being immediately brought before the courts. Forty five adults received sentences other than prison (suspended sentences or community service) and 59 were released. The Minister added that 152 people received summons for court appearances from 10 days to two months later. In terms of the most serious crimes, 135 criminal investigations have been opened (arson and assault…)
Bilan de justice au 30 novembre

And from le Monde November 25th 2005:
The majority of young people who have appeared in court are “unknown” to the justice system.
They are French, aged 16-17, their fathers are labourers or unemployed, their mothers are more or less overwhelmed, and they are average achievers in school. And for the vast majority of them, this is the first time they have been dealt with in the justice system. The minors who have appeared in court is regards to the recent urban violence in Ile-de-France [the greater Paris region -translator] do not fit the profile described by the Minister of the Interior, of “trash,” “80%” of whom he claimed had records for delinquent behaviour.
The police bases itself on the crime report files (STIC), not all of which end un criminal procedures. Bu youth lawyers and judges alike are pointing out that the young people they are seeing these days are not the same as they usually see: these young people have less problems at home and are doing better at school. The majority of them are registered in professional training programs, often apprenticeships.
In Bobigny, out of 89 minors who appeared ni court on charges related to the violent unrest, 37 were “known” on the criminal or civil level, and ten of them had been the objects of court rulings for the protection of children. In Creteil, of 77 minors who appeared in mid-November, only 15 were known by Youth Protection. In Nanterre, of 41 minors, 22 had “no record of delinquency,” while 13 had faced criminal charges in the past. In Pontoise, 9 of 42 teenagers who appeared were being followed by Youth Protection.
The hardcore delinquent youth were not involved in the riots, or else were not caught by the police. The Youth Protection director in Seine-Saint-Denis observed that its centres were very calm. “Some of those who took part in the disorder where motivated by hatred and a desire to destroy, but there was also a playful element in all of this,” said Régis Lemierre, from the youth section of the Nanterre court. With no political or social demands, “the ‘nintendo’ generation has acted as if it was in virtual reality: their friends were there, everything was on fire, it was cool,” he explained.
La majorité des mineurs étaient inconnus des tribunaux

Now to this i wish to highlight two things. First, almost half – by which we can assume at least 2,000 people – have been arrested after the fact. This begs the question: in cross-country riots where the majority of those being charged have no criminal record, on what basis have the police picked these 2,000 victims?
(Gee, i wonder if their skin colour might have anything to do with it…)

Second point: Régis Lemierre may think that the fact that people had fun rioting means that there are no political or social demands being made by these young people – but that jus speaks to the alienated and alienating “politics” of the system. Rioting can be fun, and educational, and political. I am not one of those who thinks that riots will slide seamlessly into revolution, but i do think that widespread rioting day after day represents a definite qualitative advance in the level of class consciousness – and that (along with the fact that they’re fun) is a good thing!

To quote from one of my favourite bands:
You know that violence is a disease
Its going to be a part of our lives and our future if we don’t do something against it!
But if we put our energies together it could be a very powerful era!
Riot sound effects can produce riots
Play them in a riot situation and the police will come you’ll see!
The kids are united and they will never be divided!
play this game right!
No difference between black and white!
the difference is between young and old!
Just pointing out that cuts on a ghettoblaster can be used as a weapon!

United! united ...

The game is drawing to a close so it looks as good a time as any to ask the final question:
What does the future hold for us?
Bring it down to ask for the coming back!
if the kids are united!
- “Kids Are United,” Atari Teenage Riot

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1 comment:

  1. You fuckin' rock. Thanks so much for your great work, keep it coming. It's really hard to find anything about this in the states, including in the alternative press.