September 19, 2021

The “Bure” trial opens against a backdrop of political struggle

The benches of the defendants are empty at the criminal court of Bar-le-Duc, in the Meuse. And for good reason: on the first day of their trial, Tuesday 1is June, for “criminal association” and “possession of incendiary or explosive substances or products in an organized gang”, the seven opponents of the landfill project, by 2035, of radioactive waste in the town of Bure left to demonstrate in the streets of downtown with several hundred members of the anti-nuclear protest movement.

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Obviously embarrassed, the president of the court, Sylvain Roux – after having read the thick 180-page removal order – resolved to suspend the proceedings until the next day rather than wait for the return of the defendants. It is then 3:30 p.m. in the almost deserted courtroom of the small courthouse.

« Mr. President, it seems to me that your jurisdiction is still being taken hostage, asserts, annoyed, the public prosecutor of Bar-le-Duc, Sofian Saboulard. Now we have to wait for the return of the defendants to question them. This is not the normal court of justice. ”

“Police state”

In the morning, the president had not authorized the defendants to extend their meridian break to participate in the procession with their lawyers: « It is not the outside that should dictate what happens in a court. We have set a timetable: the hearing is scheduled for three days. “

At the opening of the trial, the debates were therefore completely eclipsed by the festive gathering, at the foot of the courthouse, of opponents to the installation by the National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste (Andra) of a center industrial geological disposal of radioactive waste (Cigéo). In an atmosphere of fair, the defendants, fists raised, were applauded by the anti-nuclear activists massed on St. Peter’s Square, where stands were set up. Dressed in purple, the color of opponents of the Cigeo project, the crowd denounced ” the police state “ and claimed “The end of nuclear power”.

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“Attached to the serenity of the debates”, the president of the court expressed in vain the wish, in his preamble, that the hearing does not transform “Neither in spectacle nor in political forum”. Stoic behind his mask, Mr. Roux threatened to “Proceed to the expulsion from the room of any disturbing elements”. “We are here to discuss criminal qualifications and not nuclear or the Cigéo project”, insisted, for his part, the representative of the prosecution.

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