Violent brawl, town hall invaded, association dissolved … What happened in Val-de-Reuil?

How did the small town of Val-de-Reuil in Eure find itself at the center of a political and security affair? After a week of tensions between residents and political recoveries, the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin announced, Monday, September 13, the establishment of a procedure for the dissolution of the Black African Defense League. Several people were also arrested. Franceinfo rewinds the events in five acts.

1A fight breaks out between two families

It all started with an argument between two young children in the afternoon of Sunday, September 5. A simple “sandbox brawl” which quickly turns to “dispute between parents”, according to the city’s PS mayor, Marc-Antoine Jamet.

“On one side we have a Kurdish family and on the other side, a family of Franco-Senegalese origin, summarizes the deputy mayor, Fadilla Benamara, at the microphone of France Bleu Normandie. Instead of finding logical common ground, [ces deux familles] choose to repeat this fight but with hounds of 1.80 m with weapons. And it ends in the hospital. “

In total, more than a hundred people clash and insult each other in the city that day, until night. The father of the Kurdish child is seriously injured in the fight, according to Le Figaro. Two people are arrested and a man is imprisoned at the end of this brawl, according to Jérôme Filippini, the prefect of Eure.

2Tensions continue

The tension rises again from a notch to Val-de-Reuil, Tuesday September 7, with a demonstration “organized without any authorization” by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to Mayor Marc-Antoine Jamet. This brings together around 1,500 people and is punctuated by “racist provocations”.

Six people were arrested after this demonstration, some carrying prohibited weapons, sticks or machetes and “who displayed violence against the police”, justifies the prefect of Eure, Jérôme Filippini, during a press conference Monday, September 13.

3Protesters invade the town hall

The high point of tensions is reached in the afternoon of Saturday 11 September. That day, thehe African Black Defense League (LDNA) calls for a rally in front of the town hall of Val-de-Reuil, in response to the insults allegedly suffered by the mother of one of the children involved in the brawl, a week earlier .

“Thirty racist and violent individuals” then have “invaded the town hall” while weddings were being celebrated, rquickly “joined by 70 others” people, says Mayor Marc-Antoine Jamet on Twitter. Protesters “tear off the door to the council chamber” and “jostle a courageous elected woman wearing the tricolor scarf”.

“They assaulted me. (…) I saw my doctor, I have bruises”, affirms Fadilla Benamara, the assistant who found himself facing the demonstrators, at the microphone of France 3 Normandy. “What they have done is lousy.” A few minutes later, at the exit of the town hall, it is the mayor himself who is the target of flouring on the part of a demonstrator.

4The Minister of the Interior reacts

After these events, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced, Monday, September 13, that he would initiate the dissolution of the Black African Defense League (LDNA). “The speeches of this racist structure call for hatred and discrimination”, he justifies on Twitter.

On social networks, this association is defined as a “revolutionary movement for the defense of the rights of Afro-descendants and Africans”. Almost 300,000 people have subscribed to its Facebook page. Its president and founder presents himself on Twitter as a “political activist, pan-African resistance fighter, freedom fighter, revolutionary”.

Several political figures, including members of the National Rally, demanded the dissolution of the association, in particular since a demonstration organized against police violence in June 2020 in front of the United States Embassy. “His actions cause disturbances to public order, like this weekend in Val-de-Reuil”, added Gérald Darmanin.

5The mayor of the city files a complaint

During a press conference on Monday, September 13, the mayor of Val-de-Reuil expressed his willingness to file a complaint “because a yellow line has been crossed”. Evreux prosecutor Dominique Puechmaille confirmed to AFP that prosecutions would be “sure” initiated once the investigation is completed. “The situation is now fully managed with the reinforcement of the authorities and the police, the city is coming back to calm!” wanted to reassure Marc-Antoine Jamet.

The violence that took place in the city also fueled the controversy, with the resumption of certain images by the extreme right throughout the week. Marine Le Pen denounced, from September 7, “community clashes”. What to react the mayor who regretted “three external incursions” in this week of tensions, that of the African Black Defense League, that of the PKK and that of the National Rally.

“They divided people and it’s my job to sew up”, declared Marc-Antoine Jamet. Same line on the side of the prefect of Eure. “It is not initially a community confrontation and it is not intended to be presented as a community confrontation. And those who do present it artificially for their own advantage and try to disguise what Val-de- is. Reuil “, cracked Jérôme Filippini.

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