26 July 2023 Off By passamontagna

Place Saint-Arnoux 05000 Gap, Francia
August 3, 2023 1:00 p.m. (the hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m.)

The final hearing – with sentencing – for our comrade and friend Emilio Scalzo will be held in Gap on August 3. Emilio, a longtime NoTav activist and from the beginning committed to bringing solidarity to/for migrants passing between the Valsusa and Brianconnese, is accused of violence against public officials following the May 15, 2021 demonstration between Claviere and Monginevro, a day organized in response to the eviction of the Casa Cantoniera, the self-managed refuge for migrants in Oulx. On that occasion the gendarmes deployed on mountain trails to prevent people from walking on “French” land, had attacked the demonstration with tear gas and stun bombs. Emilio, who has serious knee problems, defended himself from baton blows from one of them while he was sitting down to rest. The policeman (forty-five years younger) left with a sore arm. Now, the trial. He faces years in prison for self-defense.

Gendarmes and the Paf (police aux frontières) control this border, bringing with them a trail of death and violence. At least 8 bodies have been found in these mountains, all fleeing or rejected by the French border police. Many have been injured, missing for days, countless rejected, mistreated, threatened, robbed. Dozens of people without the “good” document every day try to cross this border fleeing wars, poverty, discrimination, in search of a better life. Emilio, for them, has always been there. Who is the violent one? The one who hunts migrants day and night, pushing back dozens of people a day, or the one who has always fought to help those passing through not die on these mountains? Who is the violent one, the one who beats on command, the one who throws tear gas and stun bombs, the one who truncheons, or the one who simply defends himself against this violence?

We stand by Emilio’s side. We are all well aware of French police violence; we all remember the injured among the Yellow Gilets, the eyes and limbs lost and the beaten to a pulp. The dead in the banlieu and in the demonstrations. The injured in Saint-Soline, including Serge, a 32-year-old boy who risked death, who recently came out of a coma but whose prognosis is still uncertain. CRSs fired tear gas and “stun” grenades, true legalized weapons of war, at eye level. And Nahel, whose story the world knows. The Gap prosecutor’s office is trying to make Emilio pay for all that the border struggle has been, using the rhetoric of “violent” to isolate and alienate solidarity. They want to pass him off as one of the leaders of the “No Border movement,” just because in some picture he was holding a banner and was one of the oldest people in the procession. This time they are not charging him with aiding and abetting illegal immigration, although Emilio in Italy was also on trial for the occupations of the two self-managed shelters. For alleged “violence,” it is easier to accuse, and condemn. Especially if anyone’s word against a gendarme’s testimony is worthless.
On those paths we were all.

Solidarity can’t be arrest!