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[ENG] Eye witness account of police human rights abuses in Lausanne
by cpnk Sunday, Jun. 08, 2003 at 11:28 AM mail:

Firstly, there were only a small number of medics, compared to the size of the crowd. The police started firing teargas, even when there was nothing really going on. They gave no warning in any language, and fired randomly into the crowd. I was with the pink and silver bloc at the time.

Eye witness account of police human rights abuses in Lausanne, from a street medic
(transcribed from a phone call)

Firstly, there were only a small number of medics, compared to the size of the crowd. The police
started firing teargas, even when there was nothing really going on. They gave no warning in any
language, and fired randomly into the crowd. I was with the pink and silver bloc at the time.
I have heard others say that we were teargassed about 20 times in 2 hours. They started directing
the canisters straight at people, firstly at their legs, then their stomachs, and then at people's
heads. I saw several people directly hit in the stomach. As medics, we had only quite basic kit,
but I saw a woman with a serious burn on her leg from a canister, so I went to sort out her injury.
Four police came and baton charged me, and started beating me. She and a friend escaped in one
direction, I, in another, with the police giving chase. I was clearly marked as a medic. We saw
several medics, and two of the legal support lawyers being specifically targeted. A little later,
I came across a man lying unconscious on the street. It was unclear whether he was even breathing.
I tried to go to at least assess his condition, but the police wouldn't let me near him, or find
out his name.
They started to threaten me, and then gave chase. I ran into a wooded area, with them still after me.
I eventually found someone I knew, and a swiss doctor, about 60 years old. We went back to find the
unconscious man. He was still there, but the police would not let the doctor near him and even
stopped an ambulance from collecting him for sometime.
As has already been reported, they herded us back to the official camp, and then came into the
camp and demanded to see everybody's ID. They only spoke in French, and would not allow us 10 minutes
to get translators or legal support. When they decided to detain me, I explained that I was the
only medic in the camp at that time. Many people were suffering fro m extended exposure to teargas,
and had burns on their skin. They would not let me stay, nor leave my medical kit bag behind. We were
taken away in vans.
Some people I spoke to later in the detention centre said they had been kept in coaches and vans in
the heat with no water, tied up for a few hours before they arrived at the holding centre. This
operation was carried out by army personnel, and swiss and german police. Nobody knew where we were
being taken, and many of those detained had been in non arrestable roles, like myself. The detention
centre was a series of concrete bunkers with wire cages, about 7m by 7m. We were separated by sex,
although we were just across a narrow corridor from each other. In the cages there were no benches or
blankets.
In my cage, there were 31 women, in the cage opposite, 46 men, and in another 37 men. Minors were also
being held. A girl of 15 was locked in a uniform cupboard by herself for hours. We were not allowed a
phone call, food and t hey only occasionally gave us water through the cage wire, like animals in the zoo.
They were verbally abusive, and extremely racist to anyone of colour. They would not let us use the
bathroom for as long as they could, and when they did permit women to go, they kept the doors of the
cubicles open, with male personnel watching women urinate. One guy tried to make a run for it. He was
brutally attacked with a baton hard into his testicles. When they did release us, with no charge,
later, they released people in dribs and drabs. It was already dark and instead of taking us back to
where they had got us from, they started dumping people on the road. Country roads, miles from
anywhere. I have been on many demos and actions, but I have never seen the level of violence and
repression from the police that we witnessed today. Somebody I was with has at least part of our
detention and the journey on minidisk, and there has to be some sort of co-ordinated exposure and legal
action aga inst the authorities for these abuses.
Notwithstanding the stress and physical effects of the gas and beatings, the solidarity amongst
people was great. I seriously think that they organised the site of the 'official' camp to be in
a place that was easily isolated, and that they had premeditated at least some of today's events.
They had said they wouldn't use the army, or german police or water cannons, all of which were deployed
today.

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