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On September 20th the Minister of Justice issued a circular, that is  ministerial advice “on the fight against crimes committed during demonstrations and other collective movements” addressed to prosecutors and for information to criminal courts.

This circular is an inventory of the various levers that are available to prosecutors to criminalize people participating in social movements. It targets at the same time events, such as opposition to Labour law, urban violence, and ” zadistes “that come to join the safe generalisation of the” ultra-left “and” the No Borders “. The publication of that circular while the Prime Minister announced the destruction of the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes in the autumn is a purely fortuitous coincidence, and any intention to instrumentalise justice for purposes of political repression would be independent of the will of the government.

Good use of the state of emergency.

In a country where freedom to demonstrate is guaranteed by the constitution or organizing an event is simply subject to declaration, the means to suppress the organization and participation in an undeclared demonstration are unfortunately weak

“However violation, of these provisions constitutes a contravention  participants
and only allow for the arrest of the organizers, if they have been properly identified. “

But with the state of emergency things are much more interesting: “The offences constitute offences punishable by six months imprisonment and a fine of € 7,500 in accordance with Article 13 of the amended law of 3 April 1955 , which applies to the organizers and the participants. ” This also allows for the placement in custody of supposed offenders.

Since February, all solidarity demonstrations with the Exiles in Calais were banned in the name of the state of emergency, and an activist is charged with participating in a gathering for an Exile’s death at the border. Well now all France is like in Calais, and all forms of opposition to government policy are as serious as solidarity with foreigners. Republican equality somehow.

How to dissuade people from demonstrating?

Any demonstration frowned upon by the government are susceptible to be an opportunity to disturb public order and violence, it is useful to deploy a scheme that makes all the participants feel that he or she is a criminal or a potential offender: “In application of the provisions of Articles 78-2 and 78-2-2 of the code of criminal procedure, it is up to the prosecutors to deliver all requisitions for identity control purposes , checking of vehicles, visual inspection and baggage searches, which appear useful for the investigation and prosecution of offenses that may be committed during or on the sidelines of events or any known collective movement. These requisitions particularly target the place of demonstration, but also the main roads to get there.”

As the protesters are potentially offenders , the means “dedicated to
the completion of the judicial police missions “should be mobilized, as well as the Customs” in the case of clues assuming the participation of armed individuals in organized events. “

How not to be mistaken for guilty?

You know how it is, everything is moving, and we do not really know who is hitting who. And by misfortune the police come to accuse the person they just beat up of violence . And as we do not train enough police personnel to give false statements, their statements are often contradictory, and when there is a careful lawyer or judge , it does not pass. The circular provides a methodological compilation of how to avoid most of these contradictions.

Providing the means to continue.

Following the circular provides guidelines for organizing so that the required proceedings can be followed – and in particular the proceedings for immediate appearance without preparation of the defense while the prosecution case prepared by the police following the methodology mentioned above , can prosper. Including in the absence of any crime, “identify the authors before they can pass to the act.” The Tarnac Affair can be put on the shelves of archaic practices, there is now no need to put concrete on overhead lines, a simple police investigation and an investigating judge open to the imaginative dimension is enough.

“The particular situation of police officers and soldiers of the gendarmerie.”

As there are two weights, there are two measures.

Violence against the police or gendarmes “The acts committed to the detriment of persons vested with public authority are deeply undermining to the values of the Republic. They justify that special attention be paid to this type of behavior and that prosecutors show they are very firm on this. […] The finding of any violation of this nature must induce the greatest rigor in investigations, both in the context of real-time processing as during the monitoring of preliminary investigations or investigations, and prosecutions. This requirement should be a major concern for the floors of your courts. “

Violence by police or a gendarme ? well then it depends “When these facts amount to a penal offence, you will ensure to implement an adapted investigative policy depending on the kind of person in question and the nature, and the seriousness and sensitivity of the allegations.” We can arrange things “This policy of referral may be usefully coordinated with the higher authorities of the police and gendarmerie”  We can handle it internally, especially if it’s sensitive  “In general, the complexity, seriousness and sensitivity of the facts are criteria that lead us to distinguish between procedures that could be entrusted to a general inquiry and those requiring referral to specialized services such as general inspections” We can arrange things with disciplinary action, why bother with justice “They essentially depend on the nature, severity and complexity of the facts, but also on the disciplinary penalties imposed against the defendants by their hierarchical authority.” But if it is mediatised we must show that we are doing something about it

Regardless of the complexity of investigative actions to be carried out the opening of a judicial inquiry would be timely when it appear necessary to entrust these investigations to an investigating judge, particularly in terms of the media coverage of a case or the need to provide victims with the possibility of a civil action and make requests for certificates. “


Below is a list of key charges that could be used against protesters, including “offences that may also be useful” in case anything gets forgotten. If there is a topic concerning “offences relating to attacks on security forces,” nothing concerns violations by the security forces themselves , strange no ? then there is an advice for limiting the contradictions in the testimonies of officers police – without putting in doubt their sincerity.

You can download the circular of 20 September 2016 here. Reading it is as exciting as reading a who dunnit cop thriller .



The authentic portrait of bogeyman in action, or what zadistes are doing in the night.