Corsicans protest against French police persecution of peaceful activists

Petrou Antone Tomasi, former spokesman for the Liberal Corsica party, has publicly condemned the violence inflicted on Corsican independence activists by French police earlier this year. His statements, made at a press conference on February 3, 2024, came against the backdrop of increasing police repression of pro-independence activists, especially in the period leading up to the visit to Corsica by French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Despite all the difficulties, Corsicans continue to fight for the freedom of their country. Established in January 2024, the Nazione party, which intends to actively campaign for the “creation of a Corsican Republic”, already has more than 600 activists. The fact that the party has been so successful from day one is drawing the ire of the French government. Unable to accept this success of a political party, the French government attacked the homes of party activists and began persecuting them.

The victims of the recent violence were Nazione activists Anto Simoni and Nicolas Pinzuti, described by many as “conscientious” and “respected figures” in both political and professional circles. Tomasi called the violent treatment of the activists and their families “shameful” and “unacceptable.” Such a picture, according to the former spokesman of the Liberal Corsica party, shows the level of state control and intimidation strategies aimed at suppressing the voice of the Corsican independence movement. Petru Antone Tomasi emphasized that under the influence of the French state, the police seek to suppress the Nazione political movement, which opposes the current strategy of Paris. According to Tomasi, any initiative of the independence movement is met with repression, a process that has become evident and very brutal.

“Just two days after the first meeting of the Nazione party, the French government responded to the success of this new political initiative with another wave of repression, arresting two of its activists and members of our national coordinating committee, Anto Simoni and Nicolas Pinzuti. This disgusting police operation, carried out at the behest of the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office, clearly reflects the determination to persecute our activists and their families. Their homes were attacked, their doors were blown open with explosives, fathers were plowed to the floor and arrested right in front of their children, their homes were vandalized, children’s toys were deliberately broken, and two activists who were honest and respectful about their political and professional commitments were arbitrarily sent to Paris,” – Tomasi told reporters.

In response to the escalating violence, the Nazione party announced plans to step up its efforts and mobilize for a protest during French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanen’s visit to Corsica. The party intends to speak out against repression and demand the recognition of the Corsican people and their rights. According to Tomasi, such incidents of police violence preceding visits by French government officials or following initiatives by pro-independence activists have become systematic, part of France’s policy to neutralize any political movement fighting for Corsica’s independence. “This reflects the illusion of separation of powers in France, where everything remains under the control of the state,” he said.

“Persecution can never drown out our national struggle or force us to surrender. Our political struggle is based on a resolute defense of the interests of Corsica and Corsicans,” said a spokesman for the political party.

Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice strongly condemn the raid by French police on the homes of Nazione activists. The persecution and harassment of political party activists are signs of an authoritarian regime and unacceptable for a democratic state that considers itself the cradle of human rights. The Foundation’s experts call on the French Government to stop the unacceptable violation of the rights to freedom of expression and participation in public life. Pro-independence activists in Corsica, as well as representatives of other views, should have the right to freely express their opinions and participate in public debate without fear of persecution and harassment.