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France

State of emergency: the choice of repression

LCR press statement

Monday 14 November 2005, by Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire

As was foreseeable, the government has decided to submit to the vote of the two assemblies [the National Assembly and the Senate] the prorogation for three months of the state of emergency, with the explicit aim of giving “every means to the forces of order to restore calm”.

At the same time the decision was announced to install the CRS [riot police], disguised as neighbourhood policemen, in the suburbs. The all-out escalation of security and repressive policies is being confirmed. While the liberal policies of the government are resulting in important social fightbacks, Chirac and his government have chosen the option “state of emergency”, which, added to the Vigipirate plan [an “anti-terrorist” measure dating from 1995] gets the population used to living under an emergency regime. What a confession of weakness on the part of a government which has an absolute majority in parliament! The social emergency is disappearing behind the stun guns and such like of the police, behind the summary justice which is presently being applied.

The right to demonstrate, the right to freedom of movement, the right of expression, and the right to strike are now going to depend on the decisions of prefects [unelected, government-appointed local administrators]. The state of emergency is the armed wing of liberalism, to silence or to prevent from acting workers, political organizations, trade unions and associations, to re-establish the double penalty [whereby foreign nationals convicted by courts can be deported at the end of their sentence].

It would be unthinkable for part of the Left to persist in its accommodation with the government and not vote against the prorogation of the state of emergency. For the LCR, it is urgent for a front of organizations to be established, to call a demonstration in the coming days against the state of emergency.

November 14, 2005