Lyon, France has been enduring a rash of violent mob attacks by organized fascists over the last several months. Supporters of The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund will recall back in April we helped to rebuild a left-wing bookstore earlier this year after a mob of Generation Identitaire fascists mobbed it and destroyed it. There is currently a real battle for the streets – one which Lyon antifascistes have no intention of losing!
It was in this context that a confrontation between antifascists and the far-right religious extremists of Civitas took place in August at a demonstration against France’s proof of COVID vaccination laws. A skirmish occurred and while no one has pressed charges against anyone else, the French state has taken matters into its own hands and are prosecuting seven antifascists.
Our friends now must defend themselves in a court of law against numerous charges related to the incident in August, after antifascists in Lyon have endured months of state harassment and targeting. None of the fascists involved in the incident have faced charges and fascist groups all over the city still enjoy access to venues to organize from without fear of state intervention, while officials threaten to cut funding to any venue that dares to host an antifascist event. Lyon antifascists are now in a three-way fight – countering fascist violence and zealous state represssion; the charges against our seven friends is another battleground in that fight.
In the words of antifascists in Lyon: “We will not allow our comrades to be locked away by the same authorities that protect the worst fascist filth by doing nothing.” The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund has made a contribution to the legal defence of the seven who currently stand accused and we pledge to do whatever is necessary to support them and see them walk free.