The yellow vests suspected of having wanted to make explosives on the sidelines of the 15th rally, on February 22, 2019, are finally released.
During an operation directed north of Toulouse on February 22, 2019, the police imagined the worst by discovering liters of acid, saltpeter, sulfur and coal. So many elements that, when mixed, manage to make explosives.
That day, eight yellow vests, close to the far left movement, had been arrested for criminal association with a view to preparing a crime punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment and for the possession of items intended for a composer. incendiary or explosive device. And according to investigators’ information, one of the protagonists had proposed pylons that line the train tracks.
Three of them were quickly released after the initial interrogations, unlike the other five. These individuals, four men and a woman, were tried on Tuesday by the Toulouse Criminal Court.
At the helm, defendants aged 24 to 47 do not really have the head of the job. Four of them have a clean record, they are cooks, truck drivers or welders. “Normal people”, as underlined Me Claire Dujardin, one of their lawyers.
The case arises on the eve of the fifteenth gathering of yellow vests. This Friday evening, one of the demonstrators is organizing an aperitif at her place. She invites 5 people and asks her guests not to come empty-handed. This 40-year-old is not talking about food and drink but about the components needed to make smoke and streamers. “We wanted to mark the occasion, but without violence. The smoke bombs would have to serve to divert the attention of the police during the clashes to allow our comrades to escape. We do not even know how to do it”, assures the one of the defendants.
“He had no intention of making a bomb”
Their plan could not be carried out as police officers intervened around 8 p.m., only an hour after the start of the party.
“They found five liters of acid, I do not have the impression that this is one of the ingredients of the smoke,” analyzes the president. “These cans were in my truck, they serve me for my work and to maintain this heavy truck”, answers the suspect.
“The problem in this case is that we have never been able to characterize the intentions of the accused. All these elements were separate, moreover the expert considers that some are missing if we really want to create a explosive “, pleads Me Cécile Brandely.
For lack of clear evidence, all of the defendants were released by the court, while the prosecutor had requested sentences of up to 20 months in prison.