They helped themselves. Fifteen people accused of having “used” during the looting of a Swarovski store on March 16, 2019, during act 18 of the “yellow vests” on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, will be tried by the Paris criminal court, AFP learned on Monday from sources familiar with the matter.
A Parisian examining magistrate decided to send to trial fourteen men and a woman, aged 20 to 57, for “theft by ruse, break-in or escalation (…) aggravated by the meeting” or “concealment of property from a theft ”, according to its order of August 31, unveiled by The Parisian.
“I did not think about the consequences”
Among the defendants, most of them with little or no charge, many unemployed people, but also a forklift driver, a delivery man, a metallurgist or even students including a 25-year-old Italian, who will also be tried for “rebellion” against a policeman.
“There are people who were in there and they were throwing things up and down all over the place. I used myself. (…) Under the influence of adrenaline, the crowd and the group effect, I did not think about the consequences ”, admitted in custody a 20-year-old unemployed, the day after the events.
The jewelry store and Swarovski crystal objects had been stormed by demonstrators, 365 people had entered in the space of a few minutes before the intervention of the police.
But according to The Parisian, the first to break into the store had their faces hidden and could not be stopped.
“The real thugs will escape prosecution”
For Pierre-François Rousseau, lawyer for two of the defendants, after more than two years of investigation, “it is a mountain which gives birth to a mouse”. “It is the lampists who will be in court, while the real thugs will escape prosecution. “
The qualification of “participation in a group formed for the preparation (…) of destruction or degradation of property” was indeed abandoned, in accordance with the requisitions of the prosecution, the judge noting that the protagonists “did not know each other[ie]for the most part ”and that it was more of“ a superposition of individual actions ”and“ spontaneous ”. Swarovski had estimated the amount of its total damage at 500,000 euros at the start of the investigation, according to a source close to the matter.
Act 18 of the “yellow vests”, on March 16, 2019, was marked in Paris by violence with, among other things, looting in various stores and the burning of the Fouquet’s restaurant, stores and a bank branch of Champs-Elysées.
At least twenty-three prison sentences were notably handed down a few days later by the Paris Criminal Court during immediate appearances.