* Note

Many questions closely connected with the problem of repression have willingly not been taken up here. Words followed by ° are explained at the end of the text.

* Before the camp

We hve had the denial of the Lingolsheim site, the will to delay indefinitely written agreements, facilities, etc. Then they accomodated a C.R.S.° in the hotel Mercure; at the beginning of the camp it came from the Moselle° and was later replaced by one from the Rhone°. The rounds of RG° (or BAC°?) in the camp have been easily stopped.

We must take into account that working with a collective responsibility as we do is a deep mystery (Marx said "a Sphinx") for bourgeois thinking, especially for members of the elected bodies. There must have been directions from the government: the CUS° has certainly contacted the prefecture° and a prefect° will not take an important decision without refering to the Ministry of Home Affairs: it would violate the rules for survival in a administrative environment and more so as the government was changing. Anyway, the C.R.S.° coming from other departments° were not under the prefect's authority (until they arrived).

* Stepping up the tension

What with the rain and the delay of the technical services, the activities of the camp can be said to have actually started on Sunday. On Monday, two people have been arrested and the reaction was immediate: demonstration toward the police station and blocking of the bridge, with their pretty quick liberation as a result. On Tuesday, several arrests. The scenario has always been the same: militants arrested isolately or a little apart from a demonstration; the pretext was a trifle, typically a "tag°" which would normally lead to no arrest and be punished with a fine;the affair is made dramatic by inflating the motive (aggravated degradation, ...) and placing the militants in "garde a vue°".

According to an information from the press, the mayor of Strasbourg has asked the prefect to forbid demonstrations as soon as Tuesday night (it is of course possible that the prefect himself suggested her to do so). The sure fact is that the arrests of the first days, and above all their dramatization, made up a campaign of criminalization used to prepare the higher level of repression which took place on Wednesday.

We have to insist on the fact that on Wednesday there was no incident worth noticing during the first hour and half of the demonstration. The breaking of a bank show window, about which there has been much noise, took place after the first charges of the police.

Thinking about this sequence of events, one cannot believe that demonstrations were forbidden as a consequence of the "degeneration" of Wednesday's demonstration. It is likely that the attack against the dmonstration was planned as the final step of the criminalization needed to justify the interdiction.

* About the general assembly during the night from Wednesday to Thursday

Unavoidably, this especially brutal repression and the criminalization campaign that preceded it brought to a climax the divisions inside the camp. Anyway it was a shock.

The Bertha group had taken into account the possibility of a massive assault against the camp by the police. It was considered improbable but the steps to be taken had been planned. Many participants got a genuine paranoia about it. However somebody rightly remarked that had become still more improbable, at least in the immediate future. First, it was useless to forbid demonstrations if the camp was to be dispersed right away. Second, very likely, before sending in the police, the prefect would have notified us an order to clear away or the police would have first tried to cause incidents within the camp.

However that may be, there was no massive exodus from the camp on Thursday and most groups who had actions planned or going on in the city did it (noborder ZONE bus, presence in front of the prison, rally for political prisoners...).

* The interventions in town from Thursday on

As soon as Thursday afternoon, two "affinity groups" met to start again demonstrations in the city. There has been interventions outside the camp until the end:
several interventions of the Samba group,
rally in front of the courthouse on Friday during Ahmed's trial,
blocking of bridges in the city,
occupation of a barge,
demonstrationn in Kehl and new blocking of the bridge of Europe,
very much noticed presence at the "braderie".
Obviously, these could not have the same bulk as the former demonstrations and it is difficult to get an overview of them. Anyway, they were important enough for the police to commandeer buses to bring the demonstrators back home.

On the whole, the repression has been weaker during this second phase of the camp. This is probably due in large part to the fact that the interventions were dispersed. In spite of its admirable dedication and the reinforcements it had received, the police cannot be everywhere at the same time. Moreover, the outcome of police attacks was now to make clearer that the interdiction was a failure.

Finally took place the departure in procession of the "exodus", which was a tactical success which we have not been able to use enough. We cannot elaborate on this point here.

* Conclusion

To sum up, two points become clear. The events of Wednesday were prepared by a campaign of criminalization of the camp. The attack (very probably planned) against Wednesday's demonstration was used as a pretext to forbid demonstrations and was not the reason of the interdiction.

The important point is that the interventions in the city went on after their prohibition and until the end of the camp. Did not the prefecture° of Strasbourg (and behind it, the French state) behave like these people who lift up a heavy stone, just to let it fall back on their feet?

Collectif Anti-Expulsions of Paris

°BAC = Brigade Anti-Criminalite. Notice that in French juridical language a "crime" is a heavier offence than a "delit". The BAC were initially created as a sort of anti-gang units. Now they are mostly used for tough intervention against small delinquency (real or supposed). Their favourite target is the youth on the banlieues.
°C.R.S. = Compagnie Republique de Securite. A unit of a mobile police body, mostly used as anti-riot police. Usually used for a member of this body. A company numbers roughly 150 cops.
°CUS = Communaute Urbaine de Strasbourg. The administration of the city and suburban communities.
°Department = see under prefect.
°Garde à vue = police detention in the frame of a case of crime or delit, as distinguished from a simple identity check (see under BAC for "crime" and "delit"). The "garde a vue" is illegal if the offence is only liable of a fine.
°Moselle and Rhone = Two departments, neither of them in Elsass.
°Prefect, prefecture = France is divided into 95 departments which are the most important administrative units. State power in the department is split between an elected body, the Conseil General (General Council) and the prefect who is the delegate of the government. As such he has the police forces under his authority. The hierarchical chief of the prefect is the Minister of Home Affairs. Strasbourg is the seat of the prefecture of the Bas Rhin department.
°RG = Renseignements Generaux. A body of police (plain clothes) inn principle in charge of collecting information, mostly political.
°Tag = this English word is now used in French with a completely different meaning: inscription or painting on a wall.