In Nantes, south Brittany, demonstrations go by but don't look alike. Yesterday, one thousand people supported the Palestinians being confronted to Israel's military attack in the Gaza strip. The slogans expressed the political side of the demonstrators. One of them clearly supported the Hamas: “Long life to the Hamas' resistants”. One has to say the Hamas is considered as a terrorist organization by the European Union, Canada, the United States and Japan among others. Other slogans were “Stop slaughtering in Gaza!” and “Israel murderer!”. The European Union under French presidence was criticized for its links with Israel and its lack of reaction to the current events. But another demonstration attracted much more policemen and security personnel. It took place on this 31st of December afternoon in front of the Pays de la Loire Regional Hall, at the Beaulieu island, to support the 6 pro-reunification militants currently into police custody. Almost fourty people were present, a few hours from New Year 's Eve and by freezing coldness, responding to the call made by 44=Breizh, a group of youngsters being militantly in favour of the administrative reunification of Brittany. This call was supported by different organisations such as Emgann, the independantist lest-wing movement, The Young Bretons, the Breton Party's movement of youngs, the CBIL Free and Libertarian Brittany Coordination, the CARB Anti-Repression Comity of Brittany, and even the rock group Atlantyka from Douarnenez.
So a very diverse police presence, including a section of CRS (Republican Security Companies, the riot control forces of the French police), sent to the place but keeping their distance ; the security service of the Region Hall operating the surveillance of the main entrance ; and many police personnel in civilian clothes not downright discreet, passing and passing again with their cars, taking photos or using their cell phones on the opposite pavement.
The all regional medias were present: Presse-Océan and Ouest-France, the only two daily papers, as well as France-Bleue Loire-Océan and France 3 West, respectively the only regional radio and the only regional TV programs (on a French channel, France 3). A short speech was pronounced, denouncing the will to criminalize deeds considered as of good citizenship as they were pro-reunification and anti-Pays-de-le-Loire. After having chanted “Auxiette in jail, our children at home!” (Jacques Auxiette is the socialist president of the region), the demonstrators went to ask for news of the 6 youngters at the central police station of Nantes.
But what happened? Citizens from Nantes, aged 18 to 23, were arrested and are suspected of having put pro-reunification graffiti and thrown black paint balls onto the signs and the building of the administrative region. They were arrested in two times: three during the night between Monday the 29 and Tuesday the 30, apparently outside the Region Hall, three others at home by a police personnel in civilian clothes on Tuesday afternoon. Police searches were also carried out at their residences. For the moment they are still into custody and they may spend the New Year's Eve in that situation as the legal 24 hours time can be extended up to 48 hours. An extension beyond this 48 hours is legally possible but unlikely because it must be justified by facts of a particular gravity which list is dressed by article 706-73 of the French code of criminal procedure and which have nothing to do with the facts in question. So we will know tomorrow the 1st of January, at the term of the legal 48 hours, if the “prosecutor of the Republic” will have decided to take legal actions against them.