The trial of Franco Lollia, already twice sent back, is being held this Monday, May 10, the day of the commemoration of the abolition of slavery.
A highly symbolic date.
The activist admits to having tagged the statue of Colbert to denounce “state negrophobia”.
He incurs a fine of 3,750 euros and a sentence of community service.
Franco Lollia could not have dreamed of a more symbolic date for his trial. This Guadeloupean activist, figure of the fight against racism, appears this Monday, day of commemoration of the abolition of slavery, in front of the criminal court of Paris for having tagged "state negrophobia" on the statue of Colbert who throne before the National Assembly. "This chance concerning the date of his trial, beyond the symbol, is particularly interesting," smiles one of his lawyers, Me Evita Chevry. For once, on May 10, we will not only have the big speeches, reality will be played out in the courthouse, we will be able to see where we really are in our history. "
Spokesman for the “anti-negrohobia brigade”, Franco Lollia has never denied his gesture, on the contrary, he claimed it. By painting, last June, the statue of the former minister of Louis XIV, considered to be the initiator of the “Black Code”, which legalized slavery in the French colonies, the activist intended to denounce the “hypocrisy” of France which puts forward a contested figure in the history of France in front of one of the flagship monuments of democracy. "We are not attacking Colbert, a dead and buried man, but rather the French state which uses these figurines to spit in our face every day that God makes", he explained to the press last January. when his trial had just been postponed after the filing by the defense of a priority question of constitutionality (QPC).
An international movement
This symbolic act - for which he nevertheless incurs a fine of 3,750 euros and community service - echoes the American movement "black lives matter" which gained visibility after the death of George Floyd in the United States. Almost everywhere in the world, the presence in public space of figures of slavery or colonization has been denounced. In Lille, two days before Franco Lollia's action, the pedestal of the statue of General Faidherbe was tagged with the words “colon” and “assassin” in reference to the colonial campaigns in which he participated in the 19th century. A few days later, in Marseille, two commemorative statues of the former colonies of Africa and Asia suffered the same fate. On one was tagged "the colonized of Africa fuck France",on the second "The colonized of Asia nick France".
“My client made this strong gesture to provoke the debate.
He has been writing letters to institutions for years to try to make his voice heard without ever having an answer, ”insists his lawyer, who sees in this action a desire to promote living together.
“We cannot say 'assimilate' but keep part of our history in the shade.
A ground on which refused to place itself, last January, the lawyer of the National Assembly, Me Saida Benouari, who saw in this case before a file of "material degradation".
“I hear the symbolic action argument, but what about the material damage?
What is the meaning of degrading property belonging to the public domain?
», She had declared during the last hearing.
What place do the names of the streets and the statues have in the collective memory?
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