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DNA article on October 9 (Daily News of Alsace)

Eighty No Border activists, three dogs, 150 police and CRS riot police, and a guest star, José Bové. This was yesterday morning inside and outside the appeals court of Colmar where there was the trial of Ahmed Meguini. The crowd was well behaved, and wearing the colorful costumes of the extreme left..

8:15 a.m. The mobile national guard squadron of Dole, a half unit of Strasbourg riot police, the Colmar and Mulhouse police, 150 officers in all, got into position all around the appeals court of Colmar where there would be the trial of Ahmed Meguini, the No Border activist arrested in July after the events that descended upon Strasbourg and condemned during his first trial to eight months of prison with parole after three months in confinement.

The power relationship is slightly unbalanced: The fifty frozen No Border activists outside the police line and the thirty inside the courtroom are outnumbered. The dogs are outnumbered too. "We expected twice as many people," observed Yves Monard, director of the department of public security. "That said, the only surprise was the arrival of José Bové. Noël Mamère had already been announced." The moustached media star of the Peasants' Union is crossing the police lines, trailing all the rustic glory of the French countryside behind him. It's cold...

8:30 a.m. A few notesare played on the concertina, then the cry, "Ahmed is in the police van!" Three activists unroll a flag, with the classic chant, "Police Everywhere, Justice Nowhere." Sultan, a black mutt, lift his hind leg to water the flowers of the Appeals Court garden. Dressed in all the panoply of the moment, wearing clothing customized with drawings in marker -- jackets reading, "Anarchy" and "F..k the police" -- the No Borders kill time by putting up signs. A banner reading, "Stop discrimination against social struggles" is brandished. The hearing has begun. Ahmed's supporters voice their testimonies, supported from the outside by the voice of a megaphone: "French state, police state!" Activists jump up and down to warm themselves. "Your city's freezing!" shouts a young punk. A team from the True Journal, Karl Zero's TV show on Channel +, walks around with their camera. The ambient calm is only interrupted by a fight... between dogs. A small theatrical interlude.

A No Border activist starts making a little street theatre, simulating the blows of police billy-clubs with his juggling clubs. Activists organize to go shopping "at Monoprix". Chants are raised, mixing everything and nothing: "Electric cars for the Anti-Criminal Brigade!" Flyers "Against Repression" are distributed to passing motorists. The hearing is suspended. In front of the hearing hall, microphones and cameras lean forward: José Bové is going to speak: "There was no urban guerrilla warfare in Strasbourg: this is pure police fantasy," he says, "They want to turn Ahmed into the perfect villain." Emerio Canals, of the police union SNTP, is moved to lament: "The police captain injured, and nobody cares..."

The verdict comes down: penalty confirmed, but converted to time served. Ahmed has already served his penalty in pretrial detention, and will be released next week. Upon his exit, Ahmed Meguini calls out, "This kills democracy. This proves the democracy deficit in this country." Before the appeals court, relief is mixed with anger. Two red-eyed women say, "We'll have a get-together tonight." The trail of demonstrators wanders off in the direction of the train station; the cries of "No Justice, No Peace" vanish in the distance.
Régis Schneider