Rémi Fraisse

Rémi Fraisse (August 31, 1993 in Toulouse, France – October 26, 2014 in Lisle-sur-Tarn, France)[1] was a French botanist involved in nature conservation. He was killed by the explosion of an OF-F1 stun grenade.[2][3][4] The projectile was fired by an officer of the French police and his family are bringing charges against him.[5] Fraisse died at the age of 21 during protests against the construction of the Sivens Dam.

Riots in Sivens Dam, October 2014
Demonstration on the Sivens Dam site on October 25, 2014

CareerEdit

Fraisse had a degree in Nature Management and Protection, he volunteered as a botanist, and had a precarious employment situation.[6]

Music was another of Fraisse's interests; he played the guitar and the didgeridoo, and reggae and blues were the music styles he enjoyed.[6]

DeathEdit

The proposed Sivens Dam project created an ecologist and anti-developmental movement which occupied the wetlands affected, renamed it to "ZAD du Testet", and opposed the progress of the construction works.[7][8]

Early in the morning of October 26, 2014 there was fighting between the police and the protestors. According to his relatives, Fraisse felt outraged, and ran spontaneously towards a skirmish, when he realized how violent the National Gendarmerie was being against the demonstrators. He was struck by a stun grenade fired by the police and killed instantly. Some minutes later, his body was collected by the authorities.[6]

AftermathEdit

After the death of Fraisse, the French government suffered a social and political crisis for over a month, with riots in Toulouse,[9] Albi,[10] Gaillac,[11] Nantes,[12] Paris,[13] Saint-Denis,[14] Rennes,[15] Dijon,[13] as well as other protests against police violence across the country.

The ruling Socialist government was criticised by Green deputies for initially making no comment on the death. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of Interior, denounced the Greens for blaming the police.[16]

The regional council quickly decided to halt construction on the dam. Thierry Carcenac, head of the council, said "What happened was terrible and should never happen again."[17] In January 2015, Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal announceed that the dam was cancelled.[18]

The father of Fraisse stated he would press murder charges against the policeman who fired the grenade which killed his son.[16]

Murder chargesEdit

An internal police investigation in 2014 had cleared the officer, stating he had made the necessary warnings. In 2016, the officer was heard as a witness in the case but not charged. Judges decided in 2018 that the policeman did not fire the stun grenade aiming to kill Fraisse on purpose. They did not dispute that the policeman shot the grenade, but they did not see an intention to kill. The lawyer of the officer said the violence had been proportionate. The family of Fraisse immediately announced that they would appeal the decision.[19]

The appeal against this judgement was suspended whilst another legal challenge was made. The family questioned the constitutional arrangement in which police officers acting under civil command could be judged under military law (instead of criminal law) when maintaining public order. The Constitutional Council decided that this was indeed the case in January 2019.[20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Rémi Fraisse, un écolo de base très loin du radicalisme" [Rémi Fraisse, a 'grassroots green' far from radicalism] (in French). Agence France-Presse. October 29, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014 – via La Libre Belgique.
  2. ^ Same kind as the one that killed Vital Michalon in 1977 during an enormous protest against the Creys-Malville nuclear power plant, according to Reflets.info (in French)
  3. ^ Suc, Matthieu (October 26, 2014). "Barrage de Sivens : la famille de Rémi Fraisse va déposer plainte pour homicide volontaire" [Sivens Dam: Rémi Fraisse's family presents a complaint for intended murder]. Le Monde (in French). Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "FRANCE: Yes, this is the only country in Europe to use explosive grenades against demonstrators". Civic Space Watch. December 14, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "Pour Cazeneuve, la mort de Rémi Fraisse n'est «pas une bavure»" [Cazeneuve: the killing of Rémi Fraisse was not due to any "unfortunate behaviour"]. Libération (in French). October 28, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Souchay, Grégoire (October 29, 2014). "Les proches de Rémi Fraisse témoignent : « Il n'a pas mesuré ce qui l'attendait »" [The witness of Rémi Fraisse's relatives: "He didn't measure what awaited him"]. Reporterre (in French). Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "Brève présentation du barrage" [A brief presentation of the dam] (in French). Collectif pour la sauvegarde de la zone humide du TESTET. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  8. ^ Fuster Cabrera, Oriol (October 26, 2014). "El cos del jove ecologista mort mostra ferides provocades per "una forta explosió" segons el fiscal del cas" [The body of the young deceased ecologist has injuries caused by "a powerful explosion", according to the prosecutor in charge]. La Directa (in Catalan). Archived from the original on October 31, 2014.
  9. ^ "Manifestations pour Rémi Fraisse : toujours 21 gardes à vue à Toulouse" [Demonstrations for Rémi Fraisse: 21 arrested in Toulouse]. Le Parisien (in French). November 8, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  10. ^ "Barrage de Sivens : des dizaines de manifestations contre les « violences policières »" [Sivens Dam: more than 20 demonstrations against "police violence"]. Le Monde (in French). October 27, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  11. ^ Sébastien Saugues (October 26, 2014). Incidents marche blanche décès Rémi barrage Sivens / Gaillac (81) – France 26 octobre 2014 [Clashes in tribute to Rémi Fraisse] (in French). Gaillac: Line Press. Retrieved December 4, 2014 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Laurent Bortolussi (November 2, 2014). Très violents affrontements manif hommage Rémi Fraisse / Nantes (44) – France 01 novembre 2014 [Very violent clashes – tribute to Rémi Fraisse] (in French). Nantes: Line Press. Retrieved December 4, 2014 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ a b "VIDEOS. Hommages à Rémi Fraisse : calme à Sivens, débordements à Paris" [VIDEOS. Tributes to Rémi Fraisse: Sivens calmed down while clashes erupt in Paris]. Le Parisien (in French). November 2, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  14. ^ "Rémi Fraisse: incidents en Seine-Saint-Denis" [Rémi Fraisse: incidents at Seinte-Saint-Denis]. Le Figaro (in French). November 10, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  15. ^ #RemiFraisse • Rennes : La manifestation interdite fait reculer la police [Forbidden demonstration for Rémi Fraisse: people push back the police] (in French). Rennes: Taranis News. November 8, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ a b Penketh, Anne (October 28, 2014). "French Socialists and Greens at odds following death of Sivens dam protester". The Guardian. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  17. ^ "France halts Sivens dam construction after protester's death". Agence France-Presse. October 31, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2019 – via The Guardian.
  18. ^ Ball, Sam (March 6, 2015). "Environmentalists lose bitter battle over controversial dam". France 24. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  19. ^ "Mort de Rémi Fraisse : la justice prononce un non-lieu en faveur du gendarme". Le Figaro. Agence France-Presse. January 9, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  20. ^ Dupont, Bénédicte; Lebrun, Olivier (January 17, 2019). "Sivens : le gendarme impliqué dans la mort de Rémi Fraisse ne sera pas jugé au pénal" (in French). France Bleu. Retrieved May 5, 2019.

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