French left, Greens, progressive NGOs oppose State of Emergency


On 8 November, a number of French political parties, civil associations and NGOs, including the Syndicate de la Magistrature (a left wing judges' union), the lawyers' trade union Syndicate des avocats de France, the Greens and the two most significant parties of the anti-capitalist left, and Communist Party (PCF) and the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), as well as Ligue des droits de l'homme (Human Rights' League) , issued the following statement:


Faced with a revolt that was born out of inequalities and discrimination in suburbs and poor neighbourhoods, the government has just entered a new, extremely serious phase, in the escalation of security. Even in May 1968, when the situation was much more dramatic, no emergency law was used by the public authorities. The announcement of the state of emergency is a response to a revolt whose causes are deep-rooted and well-known, solely based in the field of repression.

Beyond the symbolic reference that will provoke echoes of the Algerian war, it is not simply a matter of the "curfew" which, in itself, falls within the logic of warfare. In fact, the government has knowingly lied. The law of 3 April 1955 authorises the prohibition of residence for "every person ...whose activity proves dangerous for public security and order", the closure of "gathering places of any nature" and the prohibition of "gatherings whose nature is to provoke or support disorder". The government has even provided for night-time searches. Moreover, it can "adopt any measure to ensure the control of the press and of publications of any kind", and grant competence to military jurisdictions in association with ordinary judges.

Stopping the violence and re-establishing solidarity in the suburbs is a necessity. Does this imply subjecting them to emergency legislation inherited from the colonial period? One is aware of where the well known cycle of provocations and repression leads, and what results it will see obtained. The suburbs do not need a state of exception: they desperately need justice, respect and equality.

Alternative Citoyenne (Citizens' Alternative), ATMF (North African Workers' Association of France), (Centre for studies and initiatives for international solidarity), Comité des sans-logis (Homeless peoples' committee), CRLDHT (Tunisian human rights group in France), Fédération syndicale unitaire (trade union body), Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (Revolutionary Communist League), Ligue des droits de l'Homme (HUman Rights League), MRAP (Movement against racism and for friendship between peoples), Parti communiste français (French Communist Party), Syndicat des avocats de France (Lawyers' Union), Syndicat de la magistrature (Magistrates' Union), Union syndicale Solidaires (trade union group), Les Verts (Green party).

Thanks to Statewatch for the translation, which has been slightly edited.