The exceptional scale of the security system deployed around the G7 Biarritz has generally stifled any hint of violent protest but also dissuaded opponents to organize Sunday a series of peaceful actions at the end of their "counter-summit".
Throughout the week, the presence of some 13,200 French policemen and gendarmes mobilized, supported by the army, made itself felt in the Basque Country, transformed into an entrenched camp, and in Biarritz, completely barricaded.
The calls in recent months of protest groups, including "yellow vests", to conduct actions on the sidelines of the summit and the fear of "black blocks" led the authorities to mount an "exceptional" security device for "maximum vigilance" ".
But in the wake of a big festive and good-natured demonstration between the border towns of Hendaye and Irun (Spain) - the only one declared to the authorities - the platforms of national opposition (Alternatives G7) and Basque (G7 EZ) intended to conclude their "counter-summit" with seven simultaneous "peaceful gatherings" near Biarritz, to symbolically "encircle" the G7.
They canceled them on Saturday night, ruling that the "conditions were not met" because of "oversized policing" and "safe climate".
They replaced them with a single event in Anglet, bordering Biarritz, which they finally gave up on Sunday morning ... The arrest, at night, of one of their "key members", Joseba Alvarez, was the drop of water that broke the camel's back.
The Spanish activist, arrested in Urrugne according to opponents, is the subject of a French inadmissibility and was to be handed over to the Spanish authorities, told AFP the prosecutor of the Republic of Bayonne, Samuel Vuelta-Simon.
"Several dozen people have been arrested between Bayonne and Hendaye in recent days, including some of our associative activists," said Sunday Aurélie Trouvé, Alternatives G7. "This police state aims to erase any political debate".
- "Free our comrades!" -
According to the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, 68 people were arrested Saturday and some were still in custody Sunday as part of the G7 security system.
Clashes took place Saturday in the center of Bayonne between police and protesters, with shooting water cannons and tear gas, but without major overflows or injuries. Almost all businesses are closed and protected by wooden slabs.
Amnesty International has also complained that two of his "observers" were "arrested for two hours" Sunday by police in Bidart, bordering Biarritz.
Friday in Urrugne, the first clashes of the G7 had opposed demonstrators and police near the camp where resided some of the participants in the "counter-summit", with a record of 17 arrests.
To protest the arrests of recent days, some 200 protesters wanted to walk Sunday to the Hendaye Administrative Detention Center, reserved for the custody of people arrested during the G7.
Shouting "Free our comrades!", They were quickly intercepted in the streets of Hendaye by the police, who redirected them to the port from which the procession had gone, found journalists from the AFP.
While a rally was announced late Sunday afternoon in Bayonne, the large police presence appeared to prevent any regrouping. The forecourt of the town hall was condemned by trucks-gates of the police and bridges of the city center blocked by law enforcement in number, noted an AFP journalist.
Sunday morning, hundreds of people were able to gather in Bayonne, in what the organizers call "the most secure area of the French state", around some of Emmanuel Macron's portraits that environmental activists " drop out, "according to their own words, town halls since February.
© 2019 AFP