French free festivals under attack. From Schnews 01.06.2001
The French free party scene is under attack by the government over there. They're amending the new Public Safety bill, mirroring our 1994 Criminal Justice Act, which criminalised but didn't crush the UK's scene.
One day after the start of April's massive 5 day teknival in Marigny outside Paris, which drew systems and crowds from all over Europe, the amendment to the act was passed and this week put before the senate.
Under its powers the authorities will be able to fine and imprison organisers as well as confiscate their sound systems and records. It's not only the big teknivals that have been targetted, small house parties have also experienced the wrath of the law.
Sound familiar? Sound system crews and party goers are not taking it lying down though, and across France demonstrations have taken place in all major cities.
Whilst over 2,000 demonstrators organised a silent sit-down protest outside Paris town hall, truncheon happy riot police clashed with people in Toulouse, leaving 2 demonstrators injured.
This is not unusual, the right-wing CRS riot police regularly have running battles with party-goers. With teknivals often attracting tens of thousands of people - there were 25,000 at Marigny - the authorities feel threatened by so many people coming together.
Unfortunately many of the organisers and party goers don't tidy up after themselves, and farmers' crops and the countryside have been trashed.
One teknival goer told SchNEWS, "this [amendment] is totally unacceptable as the principle is free music for all...but it is difficult to defend this movement if they can't be responsible and respect the environment."
Like over here, many responsible party people get caught in the crossfire and are often subject to the same over the top laws and the clampdown on autonomous free creative space.
Further simultaneous festivals/demonstrations are planned for June 16 in Paris and Marseille, to urge the retraction of the amendment and the return of confiscated systems.
For (French) reports: www.imaginet.fr/kanyar
Teknival info: www.defocore.net and www.freetekno.org
Further reading: Free party guide
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