Common press release from the medic, legal and DIY media team following the demo on the 15 August 2017
In Bure on the 15 August 2017, around 800 people set off on a demo (numbers like this had never been seen before for a non-declared demo in Bure). The prefecture deliberately chose a strategy of aggression and asphyxiation that led to a number of injured people. The police deployed were twice the number deployed for the demo of the 18 February 2017, 15 riot cop vans and a water cannon were counted.
The route of the demo headed towards Saudron and not the “laboratory”, chosen to avoid the fortified red zone and all the blue team. The objective was to arrive in a big field between the village of Saudron the “Espace Technologique” (an Andra Building) to highlight a very important Neolithic site discovered by archaeologists and ignored by Andra
Blocking the exit of Bure
Meanwhile the prefecture deliberately attempted to provoke people in the middle of Bure, 100m after the start of the demo. Many riot cop vans were posted at the edge of the village. Instead of falling into this trap, protesters intelligently decided to avoid confrontation and to go on a 4km detour across fields to get to the field that they wanted to go to. Just before reaching this field on the edge of Saudronm riot cop vans and the water canon were deployed followed by the firing of tear gas which of course led to clashes in the middle of the village….
The police and barricades at the exit of Saudron
The police operation
The police operation apart from lots of tear gas and the water cannon being used, police also used lanceurs de balle de défense (small hard rubber balls fired from a police weapon), fired above the waist (which is not “legally” authorised) injuring people. They also used the diffrent grenades (stun grenades and flash bang grenades) thrown by hand but also using launchers that fired the grenades tens of metres behind the clashes that were taking place, causing serious injuries.
Fights in the field
From a small part of the clashes at the end of the demo the following police weapons were found (at least) 15 stun grenades, 12 small hard rubber balls fired from lanceurs de balle de défense, 4 flash bang grenades. This gives you an overall idea for the day list of injured people.
What the gendarmes used : we picked them up in Saudron and the fields around on the day after :
Up to the left : tear gas
Down the to left : hornet’s Nest
Up to the right : stun grenade or flashbang
Down to the right : balls and bushings of flash balls
List of injured people
The medic teams counted more than 30 injured people, including a couple with serious injuries and 3 people were hosplitalised. If we take a look at one person hospitalised with a serious injury one person had their foot torn apart after the explosion of a flash bang grenade causing a triple open fracture on the bones of the foot. Surgeons that looked at the victim (after the first aid done by the medic teams) are now talking about the risk of amputating the toes because of the presence of plastic melted from the shoe into the tissue. A photo is available here but is very gruesome to look at: http://vmc.camp/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/DSCN0124.jpg
While injured people were being evacuated, police targeted people that were helping the injured, causing panic and more injuries.
For the more seriously injured people, the state ambulance/fire crews were called but we could see their difficulties in dealing with these kind of injuries for which they didn’t seem trained to deal with. Should these crews be trained to treat “war” injuries ou should these so called “non lethal arms” that mutilate and kill people stopped being used? This record of events is very heavy and adds to the previous demo on the 18 February 2017 where 20 people were injured and 2 hospitalised.
Potential repression for the hospitalised people
Potential repression for the hospitalised people not only did the police injure, mutilate and maybe cause amputations, they even went to hassle the injured in the hospitals, sometimes before they had even been treated to interview them or even conviscate personal items
- One person hospitalied in Neufchateau saw the police come into their bedroom to control their ID.
- In the hospital in Nancy, police interviewed the person with a severe foot injury, in the afternoon of the 16 August. One and a half hours of tiring interrogation done by the people responsible for a possible amputation. One out of two questions concerned the other people present at the demo. “I’ll accept the interrogation but I have nothing to say, you’ve ruined my life” the reply of the kind cop “we are here for you, not against you, here to help you”. 90 minutes later the police came back with orders to check the person’s clothes. “I’m tired, you’re pressuring me and it’s the second time that you’ve come into my bedroom!” Answer “I was kind, I didn’t have to be”
A strategy of repression that is more and more brutal
It’s far away from the times when Andra and the Prefecture decided not to make a fuss, to avoid showing that people were contesting the project. Since a few months the police strategy has started to be more and more aggressive: daily provocations and intimidation, stopping demos, serious injuries. Instead of protecting the laboratory and the other infrastructures which was the case in the past, the riot cops received orders to target protesters in the middle of villages, favouring division, injuring, mutilating…just how far will they go?
The objective of this kind of press release is not to fall into a counter propaganda of a victim, a sad summary or warrior overkill. It is to better record the attacks of police on protests and to offer an account on the continuing repression in Bure. We’ve taken note of this strategy and in the months and years to come, we’ll look at how to continue in lots of different ways.
Testimony from Robin, with a seriously injured foot
Robin wrote this testimony on the 16 August, from his hospital bedroom to share with everybody:
“I am Robin, the person that got a foot injury from one of the number of flash bang grenades that the riot cops fired onto protesters, near Bure on Tuesday 15 August 2017. I’m in the hospital of Nancy. My foot is in a terrible state, the grenade dug 3 cm into my foot with a diameter of 13 cm. Most of the bones are broken. Some have even disappeared, pulverised. The shoe exploded, the plastic melted into the wound, so much that an infection is likely which would mean the amputation of 5 toes. Added to that are 30 pieces of shrapnel in the other leg. The riot cops fired around 15 flash bang grenades, they were not in danger. Just before my foot was hit, I saw a grenade explode at head height. For me the objective of the police force at that time was clearly to injure or kill, with the goal of terrorising those who fight and those who are not fighting yet. On the medic team stretcher that I want to underline their courage and efficiency, I heard more grenades explosing. Despite the brutal change in my life that this injury has caused in my life as a father to 2 very young children, I call out more than ever to continue in this struggle, to get active or get back into it for some.”
Write to Robin and other injured people: to write and show your support to Robin and other people injured during the demo, don’t hestitate to write to:
Maison de résistance à Bure, 2 rue de l’Église, 55290 BURE, France.
Correspondence and support messages will be forwarded to them.
Press contact : +337 53 54 07 31