Crushing freedom in Saint Jean du Gard

St Jean protest

Anyone who has been following the Gilets Jaunes’ struggle since November 2018 will appreciate to what extent France is slipping into 21st century neoliberal-style fascism.

From the sheer physical violence of the state’s attacks on protesters, through its draconian use of bans on protests and “pre-emptive” arrests, to the cover-up and denial of what is happening by politicians and their tame media, the situation is truly alarming.

We can expect more evidence of this in coming days when the full force of Macron’s Reich will be deployed to prevent any signs of dissent against the G7 summit in Biarritz, in French-occupied Euskadi.

But to understand the extent to which this authoritarian cancer has riddled French society from top to bottom, it is instructive to look at what has been happening in recent weeks in the little southern village of St Jean du Gard.

The place is hardly a hotbed of radicalism. However, this year a local group has been active opposing the imposition of Linky smart electricity meters and generally challenging the right-wing mayor, Michel Ruas.

The astonishing thing is that all they have been doing is handing out leaflets – mainly at the weekly market, which has been held on Tuesday mornings for a thousand years.

Incredibly, the mayor passed a law banning all leafleting for a year. Even more incredibly, the authorities from the Gard department have backed up this totalitarian gesture by sending in cohorts of cops to enforce it and to threaten those who stand up for their basic freedom of speech.

An update from local campaigners on Tuesday August 20 reported that the morning’s market had again been targeted by Macron’s uniformed thugs.

A week previously, there had been a call-out for supporters to come from around the area to challenge the year-long ban on all leafleting (unless “authorised” by the mayor/dictator Ruas) issued on July 31.

But on August 20 there was just a little Stop Linky stand as there has been every week for months.

When a woman campaigner held up a photocopy of the mayor’s new Nazi-style law to show a passer-by, the zealous gendarmes decided a ‘leafleting’ offence had been committed and tried to fine the woman.

This aggressive move shocked everyone present, but the cops weren’t finished there and not only kept pursuing the woman but used force against those trying to defend her from them, pinning people violently against a wall.

They also turned on passers-by who remonstrated with them, accusing one disabled person using a crutch of possessing an offensive weapon!

Say campaigners: “These measures are unacceptable and revolting. We are therefore calling for a protest on Tuesday August 27 from 9am at the market of Saint Jean du Gard”.

International solidarity with the freedom fighters of St Jean du Gard!

¡No pasarán! 

UPDATE AUGUST 26. VICTORY FOR CAMPAIGNERS! MAYOR FORCED TO CANCEL LEAFLETING BAN!