Last visit before dismantling

Slightly more than 100 people met at the Place François Rude, on Saturday, 20 February [2010] to celebrate the (fake) dismantling of the video surveillance cameras in Dijon.

The objective of the demonstration was to make a (final) tour of the ocular security globes installed by the partially sighted city government (we recall that, in 2007, the Leftist city council judged it good to play the Rightist government’s game by installing these technological jewels, thus completely effacing the meager differences that still distinguished the Socialist Party from the Union for a Popular Movement). Last visit before dismantling was the title of the flyer, a detournement of The Public Good (a local rag), that the demonstrators distributed during the stroll.

At the meeting place, before marching in a procession, giving out copies of the tract to passers-by, these shouted remarks set the tone: “But I am for the cameras! They should especially be installed in Grésilles [the “hot” banlieu of Dijon], among the wogs, where the smart ones steal from the cops.” This racist shut-in, the author of these remarks, had the merit of drawing attention to the demonstration and recalling to us the reasons for the gathering in the first place.

The group rapidly moved in the direction of the Halles du Marché, where we encountered our first camera. We tested the device that would serve to hide these liberty-killing machines all along the stroll: a trash bag secured to helium balloons that rises and covers over the video-surveilling sphere. The wind eventually caused this first try to fail.

The passers-by who were watching us seemed disappointed by our failure. Some encouraged us; others told us that they “weren’t even aware of the existence of video-surveillance in Dijon.” We invited them to follow us, happy that the people of Dijon remain receptive to this type of action, and that they find hiding the cameras as funny as we do!

We departed in the direction of la Place Grangier, where a second attempt was made not very far away from a nest of local cops, federal riot police, members of the anti-criminal brigade (BAC) and other pitiful sheriffs. Once again, too much wind [for the balloons]. Finally, on the third try, between les Galeries Lafayette, the McDonalds and the kids’ store, we succeeded. Before the attentive and quite amused eyes of a maximum of passers-by, we showed the utility of a trash bag: to wrap garbage! There was applause and cries of happiness from among our ranks, and conspiratorial smiles from those who stopped on the pavement to watch us act. And then the stroll started again, with renewed vigor.

After another camera was wrapped up, there was an argument with the pigs [les poulets] of the BAC concerning “attacks on the right to the image” (thus one verified that they hadn’t managed to understand the purpose of the demo), and then we entered the rue Piron in the midst of a stream of cars. The streamers flew over the cars that hadn’t been stopped by the cops, who were too occupied with cementing together an excessive wall of federal riot police officers in case the spat intensified. We forked at la rue du Bourg and then rapidly regrouped to hide another camera.

Upon reaching city hall, the gigantic doors were brutally closed. We must have scared them – we who tried to present the image of a joyous and festive stroll! At the same time, we realized that the passers-by also saw things this way and reacted in the opposite way that the municipal personnel did. A final camera was “trashed”; a final few words from the “guides” that organized this visit to the vestiges of the security society; and then we dispersed.

This was the moment that the remaining cowboys[1] chose to seize two of the demonstrators who had written graffiti under the gloomy eye of the cameras during the demonstration. In the manner of the worst cops, it took four local cops and two officers from the BAC to ambush and violently grab two comrades who had remained at the end of the procession. We are thoroughly outraged by this childish and unjustified provocation by the State’s henchmen of the two demonstrators in particular and the entire demonstration itself, which unfolded in the calmest way possible, without incident, with pleasure and the best humor.

On our side, we chose to not respond to the cops, to not enter into their stupid game; and we wisely continues to return to the fold. A small group stayed behind to learn news of the comrades held in the CRS’s vans, just long enough to find out that it was indeed for a piece of graffiti written on the ground that they were being carted off. Laughable.

To finish off, two other demonstrators will be hassled by the local cops. They will be asked to remove the photos in which the blues [the cops themselves] appear. “Why are you demonstrating against the cameras? If you are doing nothing wrong, they pose no problem to you,” says the head asshole of the BAC. “And you, if you are doing nothing wrong, why would our photos embarrass you?” the arrested demonstrators would have liked to respond!

Thus, there was a disagreeable end-of-journey for a jovial demonstration. We can once again measure the absurdity of this deployment of police force to execute the arrest of a hundred inoffensive demonstrators, and the appeal to a violent response that such arrests inspire. The cops amuse themselves by ceaselessly teasing us, trying to get us to go off the hinges.

We later learned that the two arrested comrades have “only” received reprimands [un rappel à la loi] for the writing on the ground. In the end, much noise and fury for nothing. Just like always, one will be tempted to say.

After the police cars had left, a federal riot cop without his helmet, addressed to me the following happy and provocative hand-sign: “See you next time.” All smiles like a capon, the barnyard animal that one devours, but his gesture rendered him absolutely ridiculous.

[1] Translator: English in original.

(Anonymous, published on 24 February 2010 by Brassicanigra. Translated by NOT BORED! 28 February 2010.)

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