Report from the G8 Annemasse/Evian Route Actions
smokescreens, 01.06.2003 22:07

More than three thousand people blocked one of the main access routes between geneva and Evian today amidst hours or tear gas and much resistance.

Awaking at 3.30am more than 3000 people assembled in the dark to march down one of the Evian/Geneva main highways, hoping to get where the highway meets the other major geneva evian route, to block the flow of delegates from the french side.

Meeting little resistance at first, the importance for the authorities of keeping the at least one of these roads open were eventually realised as we were halted after 5km, around 2km from meeting the other highway.

Here we met around 100 police with a water cannon and what seemed throughout the next 6 hours unlimited supplies of tear gas.

People attempted to push through the police lines advancing with stones and other debris. 2 large burning barricades were erected to prevent a police charge.

Blocking of the highway continued for the next 6 hours with unceasing firing of tear gas and flash grenades from the police. The resistance was equally strong however and police were unable to push back, a policy of containment seemed to be the plan.

Some 120 people also walked through fields to the other highway and breifly erected barricades before being turned back.

One of the most inspiring things was the level of solidarity from the local residents in the small village. We were brought coffee, tea, food and biscuits. People opened their houses to allow people to go to the toilet, collect water and wash themselves of the tear gas. The level of support was truly inspiring.

Something else to take from this action was also the ability for various groups to work together. There was no infighting or the usual frictions, people worked together providing water for those on the front lines whose dispersed the tear gas and kept the police at bay. There was very little demarcation of militancy, there was no black bloc, merely many people prepared to defend themselves and attempt to push through police lines.

As far as can be assertained there were no arrests, though there are rumours of perhaps five. Nothing like the repression in geneva or lausanne however.

The action blocked one access point in what was a highly difficult task of distrupting the meeting. News we recieved on the blockade was that for a significant time translators were not able to get through to evian due to blockades in geneva, lausanne and where we were, delaying the precedings.

Actions are continuing tonight with 3000 people marching down to the centre of annemasse to protest the police repression.

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