The demonstration in tribute to Yvan Colonna in Ajaccio was marked by clashes between protesters and the police. According to firefighters, 15 people were injured and several vehicles burned.
New incidents broke out on April 3 during a demonstration in tribute to the Corsican independence activist taking place in Ajaccio.
Several thousand people had gathered in the capital of Corsica to salute the memory of Yvan Colonna. At 3 p.m., the protesters, behind two banners “French state assassin” in the Corsican language, set off towards the prefecture. As the procession reached its end point, several incidents broke out in front of the prefectural building.
As can be seen in the images shot by the teams of France 3 Corsicathe prefecture was shrouded in thick smoke following the firing of smoke bombs.
According to the local newspaper Corse-Morning, the demonstrators threw molotov cocktails and agricultural bombs at the police forces deployed for the occasion. They responded by using fire hoses and tear gas to push back the protesters.
Throwing molotov cocktails and agricultural bombs from the demonstrators. The security forces push back the demonstrators with fire hoses and tear gas. pic.twitter.com/nxjaoLWmmg
– Corse-Matin 📰 (@Corse_Matin) April 3, 2022
As AFP reports, a hundred young people “hooded” and for some “armed with Molotov cocktails”, were part of the procession. Faced with the risk of overflows, an imposing security device had been deployed in the city of Ajaccio, in particular in front of the prefecture or the courthouse, which had been the target of the demonstrators on March 9.
According to the figures communicated by the firefighters of Ajaccio and taken up by France 3 Corsica, 15 demonstrators were injured during the clashes, three of them seriously without any vital prognosis being engaged. Five vehicles were also set on fire.
A lingering tension
The group of nationalist parties and unions had called, on March 30, “all the Corsican people” to take to the streets, in order to “remind the State of our three demands: justice and truth for Yvan, freedom for all the patriots and recognition of the Corsican people”. After the first violent demonstrations following the attack on the independence activist by an Islamist detainee, the rallies organized after his death had taken place in peace, before clashes occurred in Bastia on the evening of March 28.
Sentenced to life imprisonment for the assassination of the prefect Claude Erignac in 1998, Yvan Colonna was very violently attacked on March 2 by a fellow prisoner at the central house of Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône). He died on March 21.
The author of the aggression would have acted against “what he considered to be blasphemies” uttered in recent months by Yvan Colonna. On March 6, at the end of the police custody of his attacker, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard announced that a judicial investigation for “attempted assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “association of criminals terrorist” was going to be opened. The family of the Corsican separatist has announced that it is taking civil action and demands that “the investigation shed light on the multiple administrative dysfunctions”.