[Marxism] Sign the petition for Gaetan!

Val M valem1914 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 19:08:29 MDT 2015

Don’t send Gaëtan and other activists to prison for demonstrating!

On April 1, 2015, the court issued the verdict of the appeal against
the conviction of Gaëtan, a trade union activist of the student
movement Solidaires étudiant-e-s and a member of the NPA in Toulouse,
France. In December 2014, Gaëtan had been given a suspended two-month
prison sentence, and ordered to pay a fine of 1,100 euros, for
participating in a demonstration to protest against the death of a
young environmental activist, Rémi Fraisse, who died after being hit
by a grenade launched by riot police on October 26, 2014.

The verdict of the appeal court made things worse, since Gaëtan was
now sentenced to two months in jail with a further four months
suspended, as well as having to pay the fine of 1,100 euros. Other
activists had their original sentences confirmed too and they also
face imprisonment.

The sentences take place against the backdrop of the escalation of
repression and criminalization of social protest. Examples of this in
Toulouse are the eviction of the anti-Sivens dam protesters from their
camp, the militarisation of the city when there is a demonstration,
the eviction of the CGT from their office in a social centre, and the
banning of a meeting in support of the Palestinian people. The
Hollande and Valls government, as well as Sarkozy’s UMP, want to
justify this ‘exceptional’ situation in the context of the ‘spirit of
January 11, 2015’ – a reference to the attacks on the offices of the
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher grocery store in
Paris. The same people who yesterday spoke in favour of the freedom of
expression now want to jail young activists for participating in
protests. The message is clear: anyone who dares to challenge the
exceptional measures in place will pay dearly.

At the same time, the police agents responsible for the death of Rémi
Fraisse are waking free and unpunished. Two police officers involved
in the death of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré were acquitted almost ten
years after the event. The deaths of Zyed and Bouna in October 2005
triggered riots on the run-down estates in Clichy-sous-Bois, north of
Paris, where the boys lived, which soon spread across the country.
Even when police officers have been sentenced, they have escaped jail.
This was the case in the killing of Malik Oussékine in 1986. Malik had
been participating in mass student protests in Paris against
university reforms when he was arrested and subsequently died in
police custody. In addition, the agent who fired a flare at a crowd of
students in 2010, which led to one student losing an eye, was not sent
to prison.

Say NO to this miscarriage of justice! Over the next period the
defence team has to decide whether they are going to appeal to the
High Court. If the sentence is maintained by the High Court, the judge
could either enforce the appeal sentence or revert to the original
suspended sentence.

We express our solidarity with Gaëtan and all activists facing
charges, and our condemnation of the imprisonment of those
participating in protests.

Sign the petition to free Gaëtan at change.org


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