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Suspended prison sentences for opponents of mega-basins

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The bedpan trial didn’t really happen. The hearing of the Niort judicial court, where five participants in the demonstration in Sainte-Soline, on October 29, were tried on Monday November 28 for “participation in a group formed with a view to preparing violence against people or destruction or damage to property”, came to a halt.

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President Eric Duraffour having refused the defence’s request for dismissal, considering that it had “one month to prepare”the latter – the lawyers and the four defendants, one being absent – ​​left the room, describing the trial as “parody”. Outside, nearly 200 opponents of the water supply construction projects loudly showed their support. Inside, the hearing was therefore held, despite everything, in front of an empty bench.

Mindful of its role of conducting an investigation “charge and discharge”the president asks the question for which the five men, aged 26 to 66, from Charente, Sarthe and Loire-Atlantique, were called to appear: “Did they have a role in creating the conditions for the commission of this violence? »

During the Sainte-Soline demonstration, banned by the prefecture, clashes erupted as opponents tried to cross the gendarmerie roadblocks to access the site of a large water reserve. Soldiers were injured, two in the face, while a vehicle was set on fire. Videos prove it on a screen, as well as photos show masked or hooded demonstrators, in blue suits, projecting fireworks towards the police.

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Movement “perhaps legitimate”

The violence also injured opponents. The president shows the court a photo “impressive” of one of the defendants, his face swollen. Injured according to him that day by a shot from a defense ball launcher (LBD), he was hospitalized before being placed in police custody. Does that make him one of those who took part in the “caillage” police cordons? Nothing confirms it. The prosecutor of the Republic of Niort, during their presentation in immediate appearance on October 31, had himself recognized that the five arrested were not among the perpetrators of violence. But this Monday, for the representative of the public ministry, “it is not the active role that is incriminated, it is the participation in the movement which has crossed the lines of the gendarmerie”leading to clashes.

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