Ajaccio (South Corsica)
From our special correspondent
In Ajaccio, the candles no longer burn on the steps of the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption cathedral to honor the memory of Yvan Colonna, buried on Friday March 25 in his family vault, in Cargèse (Corse-du- South). But, a little further, mobile gendarmes are posted on the sidewalk, at each corner of the Lantivy palace, seat of the prefecture of Corse-du-Sud, while blue vans are parked in the background. Seated on the terrace of the brasserie Le Royal, located just opposite, a customer asks the waiter: “What’s going on, is there going to be a demonstration?” »
This Monday, March 28, nothing like this is announced. But anger is still simmering in Corsica, almost a month after the deadly attack on the “shepherd of Cargèse” in Arles prison, where he was serving a life sentence after being sentenced for the assassination of the prefect Erignac. “The mobilization continues, the death of Yvan Colonna has not affected our determination, it has even strengthened itassures Pierre-François, a young Corsican separatist, who is part of the nationalist student union Ghjuventù Paolina. We always have in us a mixture of sadness and revolt. »
These feelings were again brutally expressed, Sunday March 27 at the end of the afternoon, when hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of CRS barracks in Furiani, on the outskirts of Bastia, and in Ajaccio. There followed clashes that lasted several hours with the police. Police and gendarmes, who repelled the assaults with continuous use of tear gas and stun grenades, faced jets of Molotov cocktails, stones and smoke bombs. And a flood of insults.
These demonstrations were organized at the call of two independence parties, Corsica Libera and Core in Fronte, minorities in the Assembly of Corsica, as well as three nationalist student unions. Without being as massive as the processions gathered the previous weeks in Corte and Bastia, these gatherings still brought together many young activists. Some, masked and hooded, once again harassed the police, claiming “Statu inglese murdered” (“French state assassin”), convinced of the responsibility of the authorities in the death of Yvan Colonna (read opposite).
This mobilization had been put on hold during the period of mourning linked to the death of Yvan Colonna. It was revived, at least among the most determined, by the broadcast of a video of a few seconds on social networks. On this document, filmed from afar and which remains to be authenticated, we hear people singing at the top of their voices The Marseilles. Applause concludes the scene, which resembles a collective festive event. According to the caption accompanying the images, they would have been filmed on Friday March 25 in the cantonment of the CRS in Furiani, at the very moment when the coffin of the deceased was to enter the church of Cargèse.
According to testimonies collected by the daily Corsica Morning, other residents heard the same cries. The affair immediately inflamed the nationalist camp. “One scandal too many. We immediately hold the government to account.”, reacted on Twitter Jean-Félix Acquaviva, MP for Haute-Corse. His autonomist party, Femu a Corsica, denounced the “pure colonial hatred”, while the separatists of Corsica Libera spoke of a “provocation as gratuitous as it is infamous”. State services did not comment.
Two other rallies had already taken place, Saturday, March 26, in front of the prefectures of Ajaccio and Bastia, this time without giving rise to overflows. But violence could resurface again in the coming week, fueled by the feeling among some nationalists that it alone can advance their demands, after seven years of local electoral victories. In any case, this is what Pierre-François thinks: “We have the impression that the only thing that Paris understands is the balance of power. »