Following the publication of a communiqué claiming responsibility for a fire in a garage at a Grenoble police depot (gendarmerie) during the night of September 20th/21st, Indymedia Grenoble and Indymedia Nantes have been threatened by the French police. The administrators of these sites have received emails from the Central Office for the Fight Against Crime Linked to Information Technology and Communication (OCLCTIC) demanding that the concerned articles be removed from the sites under (in) 24 hours, otherwise rendering the sites liable to blocking and dereferencing.
The communiqué’s authors explained that the garage fire had been carried out as “part of a wave of attacks in solidarity with people currently under trial” such as the Quai de Valmy police car arson.
In this Grenoble arson attack, several dozen vehicles have been burned (torched). Here is the communiqué itself:
This Thursday, at three in the morning, second day of the blazing car trial.
We penetrated the police barracks at Vigny-Musset. Set fire to six intervention vans and two logistics trucks. Over 1500 square meters of the garage and the depot were ravaged.
This act is part of a wave of attacks in solidarity with people currently under trial.
Big hugs to Kara and Krem.
Thoughts are with Damien, recently beaten up by the cops.
Whatever the trial’s outcome, we’ll keep lashing out at the police and the justice system.
Our hostility is a spreading blaze.
This communiqué was also published by mainstream media outlets such as Le Dauphiné Libéré or BFM-TV, who, apparantly, remained unconcerned…
“Provocation leading to acts of terrorism”
As the team at Indymedia Grenoble has pointed out in a communiqué, “this request (…) directly echoes the attack which took place in Germany on the 25th of August against Indymedia Linksunten, an attack which resulted in the police raid of four households and a self-administered social service center, citing similar pretexts.”. In both cases, the notion of ‘terrorism’ has been exploited by governments for the censorship of free media outlets. This is especially the case since the French police has based their decisions on the law of November 13th, 2014, which reinforces measures relative to the fight against terrorism, and evokes a “provocation leading to acts of terrorism or apology for such acts”.
Although the notions of terrorism and provocation are not defined, since February 2015 French law has been allowing the disappearing of sites or of texts without due process, based upon a simple request by police administration. To our knowledge, it’s the first time that these measures are being wielded against alternative media outlets belonging to anti-authoritarian circles. Both sites targeted by the authorities’ threats decided to take down the responsibility claim. The moderating collectives of each of the two sites explain themselves in two distinct texts :
- 1. Following Indymedia Linksunten, Indymedia Grenoble and Nantes
2. Police Depot Ablaze, What’s left of Internet Freedom?
The use of anti-terrorism laws to specifically attack independent information sites hearkens back to the violence of the sentencing against the people accused in the Quai Valmy Car Arson Affair. It aims to dissuade activists just as much as it does to depoliticize acts.
For years, the sites in the Indymedia network have, among other things, lent visibility to the political nature of direct action. This new attack against free media outlets seeks to silence radical political opposition, and to criminalize the collectives and individuals who would communicate their political objectives without the distorting filter of traditional media outlets. This attack must also be viewed in light of the raids that, this week, targeted the anti-nuclear activists at Bure. Their computers, along with the photocopier that they had been using to print flyers were seized by the police. All means seem to have been mobilized to repress the autonomous expression of movements of struggle.
As we said in May 2015, following pursuits targeting the Toulousan site IAATA.info : “Against repression, information is a weapon.” Despite the new forms of censorship being deployed, we will continue to facilitate and multiply spaces of autonomous expression. Support for Indy Nantes and Indy Grenoble. Solidarity with the accused from the Quai de Valmy Trial, and with those who throw a wrench in the works of the repressive machine.
First signatures: Rebellyon, Paris-Luttes, La Rotative, Expansive, Rennes-info, Brest Médias libres, Renversé, Marseille Infos Autonomes, Manif’Est, CQFD, Squat.net, Lundi-matin, Le Jura libertaire, Iaata, Jef Klak, Barrikade, zad.nadir.org, Espoir Chiapas, Cyberguerilla…
To sign this text, individually or as an organisation (or simply tell your support), you can contact this mail: [email protected].