Homemade bombs, Molotov cocktails, fireworks mortar fire… In the memory of CRS, the urban guerrilla scenes on Sunday in Bastia, during the demonstration in support of Yvan Colonna, were rarely so intense. “Incredibly violent,” reported one of those on the front line. The service reports written and sent to the hierarchy of the three companies involved in Bastia, which Europe 1 was able to consult, give an idea of the intensity of the clashes. These reports provide minute-by-minute detailed information about the events that have occurred, the orders received and the maneuvers performed.
Law enforcement starts at 12 noon. A little earlier even for the CRS 53 from Marseille, which came to Bastia as reinforcements and limited itself to Furiani. As the CRS leaves their building just before 11 a.m., they are called as soon as they leave their building by a mother for her six-year-old child who is feeling unwell. False start. They must wait for the firefighters to take charge, before returning to the road and returning to their post at the prefectural level.
In addition to 53, companies 59 and 50 are also responsible for the defense of this building, which has become the symbol of Parisian power in Haute-Corse. At around 1:30 p.m., police officers, who had warned that projectiles were on the roof of a building facing the prefecture, neutralized the access hatch. An hour later, local staff discovered more than 350 cocktails in half a dozen bags in a downtown parking lot. At 2:45 pm, 1,200 protesters are counted at Bastia court. The physiognomy of the event is described as “calm”.
Ten minutes later, the CRS 53 observes the presence of 60 “protesters” in front of the bar “Le Pénalty”, the site of the town hall, and an hour later, a hundred hooded people in front of the main entrance of the prefecture . The CRS 59, which is placed a little further away, at the same time also notices the movement of these “young hooded people” bypassing the device on the east side. Meanwhile, the staff of all companies is helmeted, a sign of mounting tension.
At 4 p.m., several individuals were seen preparing Molotov cocktails in the parking lot of the station and in front of the prefecture. As the procession arrives in front of the prefecture at this time, the tension rises a notch. Smoke bombs are set off and the first projectiles rain down on the police, according to these documents that Europe 1 has read. At 4.10 pm, the usual warnings are announced by the commissioner in charge of the device. Then followed a hail of tear gas shells that saturated the air and space around the prefecture. The security forces will then alternate attacks to gain ground and retreat to shelter and reload their ammunition.
Then, at 4:30 p.m., CRS 53 faced an offensive with numerous “polyscreened” explosives. Barricades are erected, the first injured on the side of the police are taken to hospital. At about 5 p.m., 100 hooded people led an attack on a roadblock in rue du Chanoine Colombani, one of the streets leading to the prefecture. The CRS retaliates with encirclement grenades and fire from defensive ball launchers. Subsequently, several “good offensives” will be conducted to try to repel individuals carrying Molotov cocktails.
At 5:55 p.m., the personnel of CRS 59 became the target of bocce. Shortly before that, it was a CRS 50 police officer who had just been shot by an “explosive petanque ball with shrapnel”, damaging his Sig Sauer service weapon and injuring his right shoulder. At 6:18 pm CRS 53 reported a flow of acid bottles. At 6:50 p.m., it was the mobile gendarmes who were the target of bullet-gun fire. At 8:10 p.m., police and gendarmes heard a “huge explosion” near the post office, avenue du Maréchal Sebastiani, and then half a dozen others, damaging the building’s windows.
At around 8:30 p.m., the hostile protesters are just a few dozen. The return to rest will be observed around 10 pm. An “extraordinary” police in Bastia that will have mobilized three squadrons of mobile gendarmes, three CRS companies, local police personnel and a water launcher. “The demonstration qualification is outdated, it is a battle, with weapons that can kill,” said a police officer. This confrontation must have lasted more than 5 hours. According to our information, about fifty police officers and gendarmes were injured, four of them seriously: broken hand, arm pierced by shrapnel, broken teeth, broken nose.
Finally a relatively conserved human toll regarding the story the CRS gives in their reports. In total, staff registered more than 500 Molotov cocktails thrown at the police in the evening and more than 3,000 tear gas and de-encirclement grenades fired by the CRS and mobile gendarmes. No attacker managed to enter the prefecture. One person was arrested. Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, has to go to the Isle of Beauty on Wednesday and Thursday to restore peace there.