French justice vetoes a protest near a Macron event

French President Emmanuel Macron – Europa Press/Contacto/Matthieu Mirville

The French judiciary confirmed Monday the rejection of the request of the main French trade union, the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), to protest near the former Montluc prison in Lyon this Monday, where the French president, Emmanuel Macron, was scheduled to be present.

Macron’s visit to Lyon is to celebrate the victory against Nazism in World War II by traveling precisely to the land of the Resistance, the civil insurrection that fought Nazi rule over France. However, the Rhone prefecture had issued an order banning demonstrations and rallies in the area near the former prison.

Regional branches of the main unions appealed in court and the CGT joined in on Sunday to try to push through a new protest against the increase in the retirement age. An administrative court ruled Monday to uphold the ban, to which the unions have responded by calling for the protest outside the security perimeter.

Macron has paid tribute in particular to Jean Moulin, director of the National Council of the Resistance a few days before the anniversary of his arrest by the Nazi Gestapo. He was later tortured and murdered.

The current French president highlighted Moulin’s defense of a »necessary, vital and just» republic. »They tell us that the Republic is by definition neither bad nor nefarious. It is necessary, vital and just. We live in a country where the idea of the Republic cannot be separated from the idea of progress,» he said.

MANIFESTATION IN PARIS The prohibition contrasts with the authorization of a rally of more than 500 people held last Saturday in Paris and called by the May 9 Committee, a far-right organization that pays homage every year to Sébastien Deyzieu, a militant who died on May 9, 1994 during a far-right demonstration after falling from several stories high while fleeing from the police.

The prefecture underlined that the march »had no reason to be banned» and defended that this »silent march» could not be banned.

»Insofar as this demonstration had not caused any disturbance of public order in previous years, the prefect of Police had no reason to issue a banning order against it,» he explained.

The application for the demonstration was also fully in order and was submitted on March 7, 2023, the prefecture has pointed out. »A demonstration can only be banned if there is a proven risk of disturbance of public order,» it has argued.

Many of the attendees were dressed in black clothes and balaclavas and waved flags with a Celtic Cross, one of the symbols recurrently used by neo-Nazi and fascist groups. Several people considered close to the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, such as Axel Loustau or Olivier Duguet, were also present.

Various voices from the left and the presidential majority have criticized the demonstration. »The only change is the tacit complicity enjoyed by those who have decided to confront the left as a priority,» lamented the leader of the French Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, on his Twitter account.

The deputy of La France Insoumise Paul Vannier has lamented that »in the Macronie the pots and pans are a no (but) the neo-Nazi demonstrations are a yes».

»In the France of 2023, the noise of boots is less frightening than that of pots and pans. Shameful. Jean Moulin must be turning in his grave,» declared the ecologist and former Macronist deputy Aurélien Taché.