La Via Campesina calls for international solidarity for the french social movement, against police violence and the authoritarian drift of the French government.
Bagnolet, 30th March 2023 | We observe with consternation the evolution of events in France. For several months, millions of people have been demonstrating peacefully against a pension reform that will make the working poor, including peasants, pay even more while the richest benefit. Last week, the French government pushed through this reform without a vote in the National Assembly. That evening and every day since, demonstrations and actions have multiplied to denounce this authoritarian drift and to demand the immediate withdrawal of the pension reform. Faced with this massive mobilisation, which is widely supported by public opinion (75% of the French population is against this reform, and in particular 93% of people of working age), the French state is in denial and is responding with an escalation of the police and violence.
Last weekend saw a further step in this authoritarian drift. Our affiliate in France, the Confédération Paysanne, together with two other organisations, Soulèvements de la Terre and Bassines Non Merci, called for a demonstration against mega-basins, which are tools for water grabbing by agribusiness. 30,000 people gathered to defend water, a common good essential to the life of all people and ecosystems. The French state deployed a police force worthy of war to protect an 18-hectare area. Grenades rained down on the demonstrators for hours, injuring more than 200 people. The state deliberately prevented the emergency services from reaching the area where the injured were sheltering, refusing to allow ambulances to pass. Today, one person is hanging between life and death, and dozens of others have lost an eye or a hand, or are at risk of being paralysed for life.
Many voices, including the UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the government to stop this repressive escalation. But the President of the French Republic decided not to give in, and the Minister of the Interior decided to ban Soulèvements de la Terre.
What will be the next step in this authoritarian drift? To ban the Confédération Paysanne? To ban all demonstrations for climate and social justice?
Is France, which presents itself everywhere as a great democracy and a country of human rights, definitively falling into an authoritarian regime outside the framework of international law?
La Via Campesina calls for international mediation to restore social dialogue.
In this critical situation, international solidarity is essential. We therefore call on our member organisations and allied social movements around the world to support the social movements in France.
Here are some possible actions
- Write letters of solidarity to the Confédération Paysanne, Soulèvements de la Terre and Bassine Non Merci, and more generally to French social movements (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org);
- Writing to French embassies and the French government to denounce the repression of social movements;
- Organise demonstrations outside French embassies and consulates;
- Contact the elected representatives and the governments of your countries to denounce the attitude of the French government, to demand respect for human rights (in particular the right to demonstrate) and to offer themselves as international mediators to end this crisis.
GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE! GLOBALIZE HOPE!