FRANCE: Report on mantaining public order and respecting human rights in Nantes

(Translated from French with DeepL – Observatory of liberties of Nantes) The Observatory of liberties of Nantes was created as a result of the public authorities’ reaction to the terrorist attacks of December 2015: the introduction of a long-term state of emergency and the threat of deprivation of nationality of individuals charged with terrorist activity. Various associations and trade unions came together in a collective “to get out of the state of emergency” which established a “Observatory of liberties of Nantes”. The objective of these associations was to set up a monitor in order to highlight violations of freedoms resulting from the exceptional provisions put in place during the state of emergency.

After the adoption of Law No. 2017-1510 of 30 October 2017 “Strengthening internal security and the fight against terrorism”, it became clear that many of the violations of freedoms stemming from the fight against terrorism after the 2015 attacks had been incorporated into the “common law”, although they are still portrayed part of the framework for the fight against terrorism. The anticipated abuses were therefore monitored and denounced systematically. This is why, in October 2017, about ten associations have created a “Observatoire Nantais des Libertés” (ONL).

Since then, the news has been rich: there have been numerous demonstrations against the El Khomri labour law, against the Macron government’s labour decrees and, recently, those associated with the Yellow Vests movement. Security measures multiplied until the so-called law “aimed at preventing violence during demonstrations and punishing their perpetrators” of 10 April 2019. We have decided to make this report on the period May 2017 – May 2019, which corresponds roughly to the first two years of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.

There is no right date to make and publish a report on events that are still ongoing. This report attempts to review the current situation by summarizing the many pieces of data that have been collected.

This report is the result of observations on the ground during demonstrations in Nantes – ONL observers are present at almost all demonstrations -, testimonies collected, complaints filed, press articles, reports and other relevant publications. These facts are only a part of the story. Many testimonies are regularly reported on social media or published on websites activists. The choice we have made to stick to the facts that have been verified through direct observation or cross-checking of information obviously does not invalidate the other sources of information.

The Nantes Observatory of Liberties is a collective of associations: Association Républicaine des Anciens Combattants, Attac, Droit au logement, Association France Palestine Solidarité, Ligue de l’Enseignement-Fédération des Amicales Laïques, Ligue des droits de l’Homme, Maison des Citoyens du Monde, Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitié entre les Peuples, Mouvement National de Lutte pour l’Environnement, Syndicat de la Médecine Générale, Syndicat des Avocats de France, Tissé Métisse.

Read the report in French