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Internationaler Aufruf für das Demonstrationsrecht und gegen Polizeigewalt in Frankreich

Block011 gehört zu den 150 Erstzeichner_innen des Internationalen Aufrufs für das Demonstrationsrecht und gegen Polizeigewalt in Frankreich.

Er kann hier als PDF in englischer, französischer und deutscher Sprache gelesen werden.
Auf change.org liegt der Call zur Unterschrift bereit.

Danke an das Initiator_innen-Kollektiv aus Berlin!

Hier die englische Fassung des Briefes:

Berlin, 13th of June 2016,

International call for the right to demonstrate and against police violence in France

Right now France is confronted with a very worrying authoritarian shift. The State of Emergency that was called on the 13th of November 2015 as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of Paris, has been extended already three times. This grants the executive and the police with extended powers. Basic and civic rights are massively curtailed through mass arrests, house arrests, house searches and prohibition of the right to assembly. In December 2015, the State of Emergency was misused to ban gatherings and protests during the COP21 Climate Conference and today it is a misused measure to enforce the repression of protests against the Labor Law. 

Since the beginning of March 2016, demonstrations, protests and blockades by broad parts of the population including unionists and students are emerging across the whole country, against the Labor Law that was introduced by minister of labor, Myriam El Khomri. Diverse social movements have joined the protests. One of the central concerns is the neoliberal restrictions of the rights of wage-earning employees. These rights will be no longer guaranteed by law but negotiated within the companies. 

The French government is ignoring the protests and 70% dissent against the law. Prime Minister Manuel Valls used constitution article 49.3 to push the law through Parliament without any debate. This exceptional procedure implies a vote of confidence and restricts future amendments to the law. Usually this article is used when the government itself does not have a majority in Parliament. 

The popular demonstrations against the Labor Law and its authoritarian enforcement are confronted with vast repression across the country. There is little coverage of either protests or repression in the national as well as the international mainstream media. Countless videos and reports of eye-witnesses that circulate in social media and the internet demonstrate the brutality of police violence and numerous attacks (eg. see a summary of the online magazin Mediapart here.) These recordings, often made at great risk, show excessive thus illegal police violence. This includes the highhanded use of globs, pepper spray, rubber bullets, stun grenades and sting grenades. Police repression with the same intensity is being used for some time now against working class suburbs and now reached the heart of social movements. This is how a young man ended up in a coma for more than a week and hundreds of others were injured and traumatized. On the 19th of May, Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated: „They (the police) have no orders to go soft on the demonstrators“ – a statement that obviously refers to all demonstrators. Since March many have been sentenced in summary trials and convicted with insufficient evidence. On the other hand Police officers are by now, despite all efforts, not held accountable for their misconducts.

Such response to protests is a sign of authoritarian regimes, hardly worthy of a democracy. 

The French government attempts to intimidate and thus to disable the protests against the Labor Law reform with repression and criminalization. Freedom of assembly is limited by the State of Emergency, in order to enforce a law by authoritarian means. The actual duty of the executive should be to enforce basic rights, including the right to demonstrate, not restrict them. 

The massive and illegal police violence and the criminalization of the protesters has to stop immediately! 

To the French government, the President François Hollande, the Prime Minister Manuel Valls and the Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve, we request: 

The immediate end of the State of Emergency as well as the respect of all basic rights by state institutions and the executive (freedom of movement, freedom of opinion, right to non-discrimination, and so on). 

The unambiguous and global condemnation of police violence by the French government in all contexts, limitation of police authorization, and de-escalation as well as the ban on the use of rubber bullets, stun grenades, and sting grenades in every circumstance. 

From the French Justice and from international organizations, we demand: 

The defense of basic rights, particularly the right to a fair and evidence-based process. Amnesty for all condemned demonstrators.

The condemning of the disproportionate and illegal police violence. Independent and systematical investigation of the documented assaults and the punishment of the responsible persons. 

To the international community:

International organizations, governments, the European Parliament, the European Council should condemn police violence and repression in France and should influence the French government with all means to abandon its strategy of authoritarian measures. 

To the French and international Media:

We want independent and exhaustive information about the events in France. 

For the right to demonstrate and to protest – in France and everywhere!

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