Thousands of demonstrators protested against police brutality in Paris last Saturday. They expressed their support to Theo, 21, who was raped during a police check in Aulnay-sous-Bois. Other demonstrations took place in Caen, Nice, Le Mans, Poitiers, Montpellier, Dijon, Nantes and Angers. One week before, on February 12, there were 3,000 demonstrators in Bobigny.
Francois Hollande, who went to Theo’s bedside in hospital for a photo op, urged people to stay “calm”. Politicians have repeated “This is a mistake that must not undermine the reputation of the police force”. A demonstrator answered them, and rightly so: “The police is the arm of the French State it serves. If I slap you, you will not talk to my hand. These politicians who ask people to remain calm, I’d like to see how they feel with a baton up their ass.”
Jail time for young people, presumption of innocence for the aggressors
The government responded rapidly to the youth and their parents’ legitimate indignation: jail time after summary trial against the young people who had demonstrated after the police aggression, and no less than 37 arrests following the Bobigny demonstration!
The aggressors were treated with less haste: presumed innocents, they were free to go home. They are protected by the police internal investigation section, which dared report that the baton was “involuntarily” inserted 10 cm deep in the victim’s rectum. The victim was so clumsy that he impaled himself!
The truth is that police brutality, racial profiling and sexual humiliation are used systematically against the youths in working class neighbourhoods. They are part of the State’s repressive routine. They were just furthered supported by Hollande’s government, which, in agreement with the Republicans and the National Front, just passed a “license to kill” bill authorising cops to use their weapons far beyond “self-defense”.
The government is not “too soft”, except with the police
To protect the aggressors, Marine Le Pen and others claim that “the French State is too soft”. But obviously the state is soft only with the police. Peacefully maintaining “law and order” is fine in rich neighborhoods. But not in working class suburbs, where cowboys from special units are sent to safeguard society. It’s war against the youths and their families in poor neighborhoods, where unemployment reaches 20-40%. That’s why moms have demonstrated in Aulnay: to protest against the police harassing their kids. The kids born in these suburbs have certainly not the same sense of entitlement as Fillon’s kids.
So Theo’s arrest is not a mistake or an accident. It’s what thousands of young people experience every day, being touched inappropriately during routine checks and regularly insulted by cops. This is so true that a member of a police union did not hesitate to say on TV that calling Theo “bamboula” was still “more or less alright”. That’s a strong admission of the racist insults regularly used by his colleagues.
Burning a few cars will certainly not scare the government leaders. But the anger expressed by working class neighborhood youths against this social war should encourage us to protest massively against the politicians who serve the rich. They send the police to the suburbs against the youths, to better exploit and layoff their parents.