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Megabassines: gendarmes and demonstrators blame each other for the violent clashes in Sainte-Soline


Two days after clashes, Saturday March 25, of great violence between opponents of mega-basins, and the police, near the basin, built but not yet in service, of Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres), concern remained strong over the fate of a 30-year-old demonstrator injured in the head by a GM2L grenade (tear gas and deafening) according to the organizers. Sunday evening, the rumor of his death ran, but the family confirmed, at the very end of the evening, that he was still alive ” at this stage “the vital prognosis remaining engaged.

The tragedy is therefore always possible, bringing to light the trauma of the death of Rémi Fraisse, 21, killed by a grenade shot, on the night of October 25 to 26, 2014, during a demonstration in Sivens (Tarn). A drama for which the administrative court of appeal of Toulouse has just recognized, on February 22, the “no-fault liability” of State.

The fate of the young 30-year-old “anti-bassine” demonstrator illustrates the seriousness of the clashes which culminated on Saturday, during a weekend of mobilization against the “substitution reserves”, which aim to pump groundwater in winter to allowing farmers to use water all year round, which opponents denounce as water grabbing. A sign of rising tensions, several prefectural decrees had banned demonstrations and gatherings in the sectors concerned.

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In the end, the results of the clashes are very heavy. On the demonstrators’ side, the organizers of the mobilization put forward the figure of two hundred wounded, including forty seriously, affected mainly by fragments of de-encirclement grenades and shots from defense bullet launchers (LBD). As for the gendarmes, 47 officers were injured. Two of them are in a state of absolute emergency, without their vital prognosis finally being committed.

4,000 grenades fired

Sunday, a press release from the prosecutor of Niort, Julien Wattebled, reported only seven injured people taken care of by the emergency services, including three in absolute emergency but announced “checks (…) underway to determine if other people presented themselves spontaneously in hospital establishments ”. A judicial inquiry has been opened “to determine the exact nature” the serious injuries inflicted on the three most affected demonstrators and “the circumstances in which” they intervened, he added. Other legal proceedings are open for: “organization of demonstrations prohibited on the public highway”, “aggravated violence against persons holding public authority”, “participation in a group formed with a view to committing degradation or violence”.

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