Organizations of the unitary Lyon collective Fermons les locals fascistes , in which the local Lyon group of the Libertarian Communist Union participates, wrote the following press release:
Public information on several attacks against Young Guard activists and anti-fascist activists in Lyon
The anti-fascist militant milieu and more broadly fighting against the far right and its ideas has been shaken for several weeks by a wave of attacks, perpetrated not by a fascist group but by activists claiming to be antifascism. In Lyon, Paris, and elsewhere, these attacks are already hurting, threatening demonstrations, calling into question unitary initiatives.
Misleading or approximate versions of the facts are propagated by the perpetrators of the attacks, seeking to aggravate the crisis. On the contrary, for the Lyon organizations signatories of this text, the urgency is to restore calm, to clearly expose the facts, to condemn the attacks and to de-escalate. It is also time to question virilist practices in anti-fascist circles on clear feminist bases.
We are analyzing today that we must collectively and clearly communicate the facts that have taken place and not allow social networks to be invaded by false or approximate versions of the facts. We hope that this communication will clarify in Lyon and in the other cities the origin of the crisis, its ins and outs, shed light on the necessary positions, and then allow us to resume our fight against the far right and for new conquests. social.
We have so far refrained from any public communication, given the dissolution procedure aimed at GALE, so as not to give rise to repressive instrumentalization by the government. In addition, we do not have the practice of broadcasting conflicts on social networks, this in order not to give elements to our enemies and the police.
Attacks by autonomous groups, in particular the GALE, against activists of the Lyon social movement are not new: on May 1 , 2021 against CGT and inter-union activists, in June 2021 against an LFI activist who had to be exfiltrated from a demonstration, to name only the most recent events.
Despite these detestable practices, our organizations have never considered that the government can be a ” referee ” in the face of such practices, and we opposed the dissolution procedure aimed at this group and participated in the rally of support and made him known.
The current wave of attacks started after the April 16, 2022 demonstration and targets Young Guard activists. The Young Guard is an anti-fascist organization partner of other signatory organizations of this text within the framework of the unitary collective Fermons les locals fascistes. Through the Young Guard, it is above all a unitary and popular conception of anti-fascism that is attacked. Even if, for some, the anti-fascist organizations Jeune Garde and GALE may seem close, the political bases are not the same and the Jeune Garde has always been integrated into collectives and unitary organizations.
The facts of April 16 and 17
While the demonstration against the extreme right of April 16, 2022, organized by the unitary organization Fermons les locals fascistes, had taken place without incident, and the organizers and members of the Young Guard left the demonstration as a group , a member of GALE took a member of the Young Guard to task, by multiplying sexist insults in front of numerous witnesses. Later in the afternoon, this same individual and two other people attacked a Young Guard activist while he was walking in the street with friends, who were also insulted. This resulted in five days of ITT (Temporary Incapacity for Work) for the attacked militant.
The next day, April 17, when members of the Young Guard came to demand accountability from the perpetrators of the attack, a fight broke out during which the attacker of the day before drew a knife and tried several times to stabbing a Young Guard militant, luckily without success. These facts took place in front of many witnesses, seated in a bar.
This did not prevent GALE from disseminating a completely false version of the facts, claiming that militants of the Young Guard had attacked an isolated feminist anti-fascist militant.
The facts of April 19
Subsequently, in Paris, one of the spokespersons of the Young Guard was taken to task on the faith of this false version by militants of the CFA (Coordination féministe antifasciste, directed by a former militant of the GALE) accompanied by activists from the AFA Paris Banlieue. However, this spokesperson was not present during the events of April 16 and 17.
An altercation between Young Guard activists and the CFA ensued after a conference. A woman from the Young Guard was beaten up by 6 women from the CFA while the other comrades tried to intervene to temporize the situation. Two activists from the AFA Paris Banlieue were recognized, each wearing a mouth guard. It was therefore not an involuntary situation but an ambush, given that the militants were prepared for the confrontation.
The facts of May 1
On May 1 , a new step was taken. While the demonstration in Lyon had taken place without incident, the GALE, assisted by people who had come for the occasion from Paris and elsewhere, belonging to the CFA, the AFA Paris Banlieue or being close to them, attacked a activist of the Young Guard in the middle of a neighborhood party where there were many families with children.
The other Young Guard activists present defended their comrade, and a violent fight ensued during which several people, including outside the groups mentioned, were injured.
If the confusion and ignorance of the different groups explain that some people in the square did not understand the origin of the fight, the trigger, namely the initial aggression, is beyond doubt, this having been filmed. Similarly, if the late arrival and in a group of the Young Guard in the square could be interpreted as a preparation for the fight, the testimonies that we have collected indicate that it was the GALE and its allies who tended an ambush and provoked the Young Guard by text message. So the Young Guard went to the square knowing who was there but hoping that common sense would prevail.
Later in the afternoon and elsewhere in Lyon, Young Guard activists were attacked again by these same attackers, equipped with helmets and armed with tear gas canisters and sticks. , 15 against 7, fortunately without causing injuries. They and they had previously tried to ambush the home of a Young Guard activist, without success.
Simultaneously, in Paris, members of the AFA Paris Banlieue made death threats against members of the Young Guard during the demonstration.
The facts since May 1 , 2022
The aggression of May 1 in Lyon showing that the risks of physical attack on members of the Young Guard by members of the Gale are significant, extraordinary precautions are now taken.
As a result, the Young Guard makes the difficult choice not to go to certain political events to which it is nevertheless invited in order to avoid any situation of confrontation at times when unity and cohesion are necessary for our camp. Politics. Another example, the annual tribute to Clément Méric, anti-fascist activist assassinated on June 5, 2013, will not be able to take place this year in Lyon under normal conditions and the signatory organizations are still trying to find the terms.
Faced with this situation, the Young Guard sought de-escalation and a political settlement of the situation, in particular by appealing to the Fermons les Locaux Fascistes collective. It is also in this sense that we had issued an initial interpellation internally of some of our national organizations, in order to avoid any display of such practices on social networks and to put an end to such unacceptable acts.
But following this arrest, new serious facts were added on the part of relatives of the GALE and the CFA. First of all, a false version of the facts was broadcast on social networks by the CFA, and taken up on their behalf – without provoking any reaction from the CFA and the GALE – by the far-right media. Then, accounts created by relatives of the GALE broadcast on May 16, 2022 the address of an activist of the Young Guard Lyon on social networks, inviting the fascists to use it. It should be noted that this activist was also absent on April 16, 17 and 1 may. This forced the activist to leave his home indefinitely. The proximity of the accounts in question and GALE is beyond doubt in view of certain messages, which we have kept track of. Finally, clearly demonstrating the lack of real consideration of feminist issues, a series of sexist remarks and insults took place on social networks.
There is a clear will to harm, as evidenced by a number of messages on social networks. Those who perpetuate these attacks can no longer claim the same anti-fascism as us. Because who benefits from such acts if not the power in place and the fascists, who regularly mark Lyon with their violence ?
The signatory organizations of this text denounce the virilistic behavior on the part of GALE and its allies. They call for in-depth work on virilism in the whole of the antifascist milieu, including in the signatory organizations. We also reject any instrumentalization of our struggles and our ways of denouncing sexist and patriarchal violence.
We deplore the amalgams that are made between “ aggression ” and “ self- defense ”. It must be remembered: in Lyon, part of the autonomous anti-fascist movement was guilty of practices of intimidation, insults and virile behavior aimed at, and suffered by, feminists during recent feminist demonstrations.
The signatory organizations, which have been carrying out sustained activity against the far right for many years, invite:
denounce these actions with the greatest firmness ;
refute false versions of events ;
not to ally with individuals supporting these aggressions and these methods ;
to question the culture of virilism in anti-fascist circles which maintain deleterious rivalries.
Signatories from Lyon or the Rhône: Alternatiba, EcoDéfense, Ensemble !, Jeune Garde, La France Insoumise, MeTooLyon, New Anti-Capitalist Party, French Communist Party, Left Party, FSU Departmental Section, Libertarian Communist Union, CGT Departmental Union, Departmental Solidarity Union , Communist Unit