PRESS RELEASE FROM MEDIA CENTER PARIS
Wednesday, September 21
18h, the Brussels march regrouping other marches from Spain and France left Bercy, single-file on the sidewalk, respecting the highway code, all the way to Notre Dame. This is not a rally but a transplanting of the march to a new destination. The march has already traveled thousands of kilometers in France with no problem.
At the same time, in Notre Dame, three police vans and a police bus awaited the marchers.
The march took place in total silence as surprised passersby looked on. There was no police; everything developed calmly and without problem. Security guards quickly closed the access doors to the Ministry of Housing as the marchers passed by. We had originally called for a press conference at Notre Dame, but due to the welcoming circumstances almost certainly awaiting us there, and bearing in mind the events of September 19, the marchers decided to celebrate the assembly in the square of the Stock Exchange of Paris instead.
The protestors sat on the ground in front of the France Presse building just next to stock exchange. French police forces arrived quickly and proceeded to surround them. Protesters began their Assembly, paying no mind to the large police presence on all sides. More and more police officers arrived, as well as a steady flow of citizens and cameras. A stream was set up so that our companions could follow the events live.
First one arrest was made for ID control, the police agent claiming that the march was illegal. The protestors on the ground peacefully resisted, demanding their companion be freed. Then, the police began to arrest everyone they had surrounded. The first group having been taken away in a van, 30 people were left sitting on site while the police prepared the bus.
Everyone in the group surrounded by police was arrested, some violently, as witnessed by those watching the live stream, and were taken away to an unknown destination.
Once the police bus had been filled, law enforcement left the stock exchange, where a crowd of people and protestors reorganized to determine future action.
Meanwhile, according to the Media Center of Paris, the protesters were arrested by the special unit that deals with territorial security.
1. We reiterate that we, the protesters, are a non-violent movement which has organized many protests and peaceful assemblies since May in Paris without there being a single incident of vandalism or violence on our part.
2. We are accused of having violated two laws: the law which prohibits wearing the veil, and a new law passed three days ago which forbids people from sitting to pray in public places.
The masks worn by some of the protesters carry no religious significance whatsoever; they are purely to conceal one's identity. The protestors are not praying; they are seated in the squares in order to speak and exchange ideas.
3. The people who have been arrested have been taken to the commissions in districts 18 and 19. There are about 100 people.
Thank you to all the officers of judiciary police of South Paris who have protested these disproportionate measures against peaceful people and citizens.
4. The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs has intervened today to demand explanations for the treatment reserved for its citizens in France.