Power struggle : for Remi Fraisse

Powerful statement by the lawyer representing Remi Fraisse’s parents in their lawsuit against hte French State

Translated from the French. Original article: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/mot-cle/remi-fraisse-0


I did not know Rémi Fraisse, and I did not think that when I agreed to defend his parents in their civil lawsuit, that I would also ave to defend him.

For the past week, from the moment he fell, hit by a grenade shot by a member of a mobile unit of the Gendarmerie, there has not been a single moment in which his person and his memory has not been insulted. Rioter, green Jihadist, Eco-terrorist, etc. The government discourse and that of some farmers unions was established early on and has only gained strength. In the beginning they tried to deny the very causes of his death. Remember the first moments, where they only referred to a body found in the woods. We later discovered that the Prosecution service, the Gendarmes and the government already knew what had happened, as the police had recovered his body moments before his death.

So, why for two days were we faced with this deafening silence? Why the lack of a reaction from the State Prosecution or the Government? Why deny the truth that they knew from the start? Why has the state prosecutor attempted to create this indecent confusion around the circumstances of his death; giving the information by parts, referring in the first press conference to an explosion, creating the belief that it could have been death by Molotov cocktail. Why create false clues like te missing rucksack, voluntarily recovered by fellow demonstrators, which could have contained explosives? Was it just to discredit a young pacifist, militant from the Nature Environnement federation, and botanist, who had never used violence nor had problems with the police. To staining the name of a young boy who fought for the environment and for future generations?

Could they stoop lower or be more cowardly?

Why did they not assume their responsibilities and say: we killed him. Our policies killed him. WE did not want to choose dialogue, we wanted to show we are powerful in the eyes of the French people, and for that we need demonstrations of violence against these mostly peaceful protesters. We have harassed them and beaten them, we have burned their belongings, we have evicted them without court order and then we have used rubber bullets, tear gas and dispersion grenades. And when they still would not leave the areas we shot explosives, without prior warning, without respecting the basic regulations for their use, into the air directly above the demonstrators, or even into closed spaces, such as a caravan with people inside. We have wounded those who simply tried to save our natural heritage, those people who have an awareness that we do not have, in our drive to produce and to create ever more profits.

I am sorry for saying all this, I am just a lawyer. I should not be talking about what is beyond my sphere of action: the law. But this is bigger than I am. Today I must defend Rémi Fraisse, or at least what remains of him. A body in a morgue. A body at the centre of a power struggle. All the powers, political, judicial, military, medical and media. A body autopsied, handled, dissected by all of France, which cries for him, like Damiens[1] tortured in the public square, made the object of all powerful sovereignty. A body that power is refusing to give a name or any dignity. A body that the powers that be refuse to return to his parents, who have still not been able to see their son, the boy they gave life, who they saw take his first steps, say his first words, shout in his first rebellions, and who they never thought they would have to bury, in defiance of all the logic of the generations.

This tragic drama has not emerged around Rémi. He died at random, caught up in an explosion of power and an expression of public violence. That is what killed Rémi Fraisse, not just a Gendarme throwing an offensive grenade in the dark of night, towards a group of young demonstrators, whatever violence they may or may not have displayed.

Rémi was killed by State violence. A State governed by men whose compass points only to the next elections, motivated by their public relations strategy, who have forgotten that they are ultimately representatives of the State, a mere fiction destined principally to protect those who have agreed to be subjected to its legitimate violence. But when violence is not legitimate, when weapons of war are used, and not against a belligerent State, but against their own population; when the State kills those it should be protecting, then one must, inevitably, question that State, its functions, its interests and its representatives.

Sunday at 4pm I will be there, in front of the Peace Wall, with a flower of made of ophioglossum leaves[2] at my breast and I will think of the parents of Rémi Fraisse, I will think of Rémi, and about this life, which is more important than anything else. For Rémi Fraisse

[1] The last person to be executed by dismemberment in France in 1757
[2] Plant commonly known as Adders-Tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum)

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