European_protest_in_marseille_2008 - A REPORT -

Massimo suburbanstudio at
Sun Jan 18 22:07:54 GMT 2009


attached and here at this link

You can find an english report about what happened in Marseille in 
November last year.

Timed to coincide with the informal meeting of Housing, Sustainable 
Development, Urban
Planning and Territorial Cohesion, an autonomous local group occupies a 
vacant apartment
building in the centre of the city belonging to Atemi SA, a unit of 
Lehman Brother Holdings
Inc's Lehman Brothers Real Estates Partners LP, just the night before 
Ministers from all the
European Union Countries are due to meet in the city.

The entire city centre was blocked off all night long by having police 
presence and in the morning
an anti-terrorist brigade arrest all the occupants.

Read more here and in the file attached .


28th NOV. 2008
Original message from the occupants of the <<Toit du globe>>

<< We don't demand anything. We wait for nothing or for anybody. We are 
against repression and
exploitation, we organize resistance ourselves. They will have to 
understand. We don't care about
rights >>

It is 11.50 am on the night of the 23th Novembre 2008 when a small crew 
of people that congregate
in solidarity at the bottom of the number 69, rue de la République, in 
Marseille, receive this sms
announcing the occupation of the building, signed by the occupants of 
the “roof of the globe” (the
name of the bar located at 69 rue de la Republique) .
During the day of the Sunday 22nd of November, the group displayed 
banners outside the building
(<<They invest, so are we... >>) after it was occupied few days before 
of the public day of action
and call in Marseille – Reclaiming Housing Rights in Europe! . The 
demonstration way pass under
the windows of the newly occupied building in rue de la République...

While the Ministers for housing, urban development, sustainable 
development and regional
cohesion policy meet the next days from the 24th to the 26th November in 
Marseille, a small group
of people decided to “reclaim” one of the numerous empty buildings in 
the rue de la République.
After many years, the entire building portfolio of this road assembled 
under the name of
“Euromed”, has been transferred to many investors : banks, pension 
funds, etc.. that slowly
emptied the neighbourhood of its inhabitants, using different methods, 
evictions, intimidation, fires,
aggressive squatters etc.. Today, half of the road is owned by ATEMI, 
and indirectly, by the now
bankrupted investment bank, Lehmann brothers, as the main shareholder ATEMI.
Here are some of the slogans that were written in the banners : << rue 
de la république is empty,
let's reclaim it », « Lehmann brothers is dead vive la crise ! »

That same night, a public discussion was planned in the “bar du globe” 
at 69 rue de la république,
<<to build together answers and solidarity against urban management and 
expulsions >> (extract
from the invitation flyer ) The invitation also suggested proposing a 
collective management of the
empty hotel and bar (le Globe). The project was not to make a 
spectacular and ephemeral
occupation but rather to reclaim a space for living together and create 
a space for discussion and
meeting that could help building concrete solidarity against the 
oppression from city planners and

It is 8.30 pm. Around sixty people are eating a delicious pumpkin 
(donated by a wellwisher) soup
cooked by a local autonomous restaurant collective and are peacefully 
discussing together in the
packed bar. At some point, suddenly, a group of police ( in riot 
uniforms – CRS) are coming
towards the bar ready to attack. They blow up the plate glass of the 
shop window, some people are
immediately behind, calmly eating. After that , in between panic and 
determination, all the people
run inside the building and start going up the stairs; doing so, some 
sort of “emergency” barricades
are built floor by floor, to slow up the police who are chasing the 
group up the building. This is
revealed to be a particular efficient deterrent against the police. 
Everyone manages to reach the last
floor of the building and a small group climb up onto the flat roof. All 
these people are not
especially local inhabitants of the road and the action is not really 
premeditated. The fifty people
that remain on the last floor are escorted down, encircled by the police 
outside the building and
temporarily arrested. In the meantime the road and tramway has been 
blocked by the police but the
occupants on the roof are determined!

Meanwhile a few people came together in rue de la République chanting << 
no evictions!>>. Little
by little passers by joined the group and the traffic and the tramway is 
blocked by a large police
squadron : CRS, special forces, anti-criminal brigades...
On the roof and in the street, no one is intimidated by the police 
operation, << come down from the
roof and we will free everyone here>>, and psycological pressure from 
the anti-criminal brigades...

Around 40 people from the “caravane du logement” (network of 
associations for the right to
housing ) are arriving in the Rue de la République. Meanwhile the police 
free all the 50 people that
were en-circled and all are congregating in solidarity together in the 
Over the all night lots of people come and go. There are at least 150 / 
200 people at some point
despite an extremely cold “mistral” wind blowing.
At the beginning the situation is very confused : the police are clearly 
deluded. We can image that
the authorities are phoning left, right and centre to decide what to do 
with this embarrassing

In parallel the occupants on the roof, now barricaded, are expecting the 
police to come since all the
roads and exit of the building have been secured and surveilled. A 
dustbin burst into flames, a
police car is stoned and then quiet. Everybody just waits.
Inside the police are trying to put pressure on the occupants of the 
roof and they start destroying all
toilets and sinks of the hotel making lots of noise. They start 
mobilizing a network of people to try
to make people descend from the roof, from the chief of the police to 
the sub-prefect, but with no

Below in the street, the “caravan du logement” bring hot drinks and food 
that is very helpful in the
cold night of the mistral wind. Meanwhile, some covers, food and a 
megaphone arrive – with a
solidarity rope – on the roof ; this just to say that determination can 
not be overcome by fatigue or
the wind. On the street again, the group is smaller but the spirit still 
strong. La rue de la République
has never been so lively for many years : people singing, slogan that 
echo between the roof and the
street, football matches, spectacles... All night long, and all under 
the “vigil” eye of the police...
In the early hours of the morning, twelve coaches of CRS arrive at the 
building, together with a
group of GIPN (the anti-terrorist brigade ). The prefect is even called 
on the roof to try to make the
last attempt at negotiations in vain.
He can not do anything with the revendications of the occupants :

-the abolition of the class society and capital
-the rehousing of all the previous inhabitants of rue de la République 
who have been evicted while
their old flats renovated

In the meantime, some people that still live in the neighborhood (the 
very few that are still left
there...) bring coffee and croissants to the people in the street in 
Finally at around 10 am, the GIPN (the anti-terrorist police brigade-all 
in black and with masked
faces ) climb up on the roof and proceed to secure the building. All the 
occupants are arrested and
brought to the nearby police station where after few minutes all people 
from the street congregate in
solidarity. The solidarity presence at the police station carry on until 
4 pm when the occupants are
freed without any charges. Here, one more time, there has been 
solidarity from the neighborhood :
some workers from the nursing home nearby prepare coffee and bring 
sweets to the people in the
street, while some old people stand around in solidarity...
24h in the life of Rue de la République : a convivial congregation in 
the street, the determination
not be intimidated by the police territorial occupation and the attempt 
to live together and realise
collective dreams.
All this must have been very expensive for the state : the enormous 
police operation, the all
tramway blocked for more than 12 hours, and the roads blocked for almost 
an entire day.

We are not tired, we are determinated.
On n’est pas fatigués, on est déterminés.

No Police – No to forced evictions
Ni flic, ni fric, ni expulsions

-The occupants of the “Toit du Globe” -

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