When I entered the room, exclamations and some shout of stupefaction reached me. Some persons stood up and fixed me to be sure that it was really me in front of them.
And it was me. A bit bashed up and in bad shape, but it was me. After 3 days in police custody, in conditions more than doubtful, I was finally free.
We all had feared it and it happened. We knew that one of us was going to be taken at a time. And it fell on me.
Here is what happened.
Place of The Republic, Paris, May 15th, 2016.
“- Erm Juliet, have you seen the roll of big scotch tape so that I can glue my posters together ?
– The scotch tape? No sorry Manon.
– But where is it damn it ?!! My posters will never be ready before other demonstrators arrive if I can’t find it ….
– Relax we will find it. Ask Emmanuel, I am sure it’s him who hid it.”
We were some minutes before the witching hour and everybody began to stress a bit. Me too, I must confess. An innumerable number of persons was waited to demonstrate with us, therefore the stake was high and the pressure even stronger than during the last gathering.
But we would succeed to spread our way of thinking. Without violence and in peace. This is what I hoped anyway. Because French Riot Squads had warned us : the lesser overflow, they boarded.
Manon had found the scotch tape. But she was still so troubled. I tried to reassure her as best as I could, but she quickly left to sit down with others to listen the speech that Emmanuel was about to begin.
Emmanuel was like a father to all of us, our guide or our leader, so to speak. A bit a mixture of all that. However, he never made a decision without consulting one of us, that’s why I appreciated him. This is also why we had decided by mutual consent with the rest of the group, to make him our spokesperson. He expressed so well. At each of his speeches, the young people, the old people, all of the assemblies were listening to him. In these texts, he were calling us, us, the new generation. He encouraged us to raise high in the air our peaceful weapon, pencils, papers, flowers and our thoughts. A fight with our words. To thwart these movements which were only predicting bad news for the future generations.
“It belongs to us to act. To us to rebel. To me. To you. To my neighbour who is florist. To my little sister who will enter university. To my cousin who is military. To my friends. To the students. To those who believe in the future of a better world. To those who have a glimmer of hope in their heart. It belongs to all of us, together, to act against current power. Together.”
After Emmanuel’s speech, we were all up and we had walked. There were demonstrators from all horizons. Sometimes a crisis is enough to gather people, so different they are. It was almost unhappy, according to me, to have to get to this point. But nice also. To see that people, united in adversity, were capable of new things, of new achievements and to make the world move.
Then everything skidded. We did not understand why, but a movement of crowd had begun to be heard in the middle of the demonstrators’s procession. After facts, it turned out that there was nothing to fear of, that nobody was fighting or another. But French Riot Squads did not have seen it in that way. They had crashed head first, if it is possible to say, into the heap, into the human crowd. The impact had been so violent that some people had fallen to the ground, stunned. I would pass the details because it was not nice to see, but it is only good to know that the French Riot Squad’s blows were unrestrained. Some demonstrators had tried to fight back. Of whom I. But we did not lasted long.
They took us, about fifteen person and me, in their vans, handcuffed. “This will serve as an example” as they said. But what’s the point of showing a violent example in a peaceful demonstration ?? That’s what I thought when they locked me up in a cell. But I was so shocked that I had not achieved to speak.
Thanks to my father, who had paid my deposit, I had been able to go out quickly. On my body, the traces of blow will disappear. But for my mind it was not the same thing. My mind was even more messed up than before. How the world could be better, even if police’s force, who are supposed to protect us, are against us?
From now one, I would be more commited than before. It is not possible that we leave our world in such poor condition to the following generations. I am going to fight, more arduously than before. I will not shut up. My words are going to hurt those who wish us harm, they will be sharp as knives and colds as the ice. I’m not going to be passive. Injustice has lasted long enough. It is thanks to me and to my friends, to our younger revolted generation, together, that we will succeed in bringing back the peace.
Word count : 917
Inspired by the movement “Nuit Debout” which happening right now in France.