On June 21, France was partying loudly, celebrating “Music Day,” a yearly one-day countrywide free outdoor music bash. Picture a giant block party where everyone plays music, any kind of music, from small solo performance by amateurs to major concerts with big stars.
This year, a group of techno music fans was partying in a remote part of the Île de Nantes. Around 4:30 a.m., the riot police tried to shut the party down. Tear gas, Tasers and probably excessive force were used and more than a dozen concertgoers fell into the Loire River just meters away. They were quickly rescued but a 24-year-old man was soon reported missing—Steve Maia Caniço.
“Missing” as in “shit, he probably fell into the river and was swept away.”
When we arrived in Nantes, thousands of posters asking “Où est Steve?” were plastered all around the city. There are also graffiti on the festival site and on July 20, we saw a human chain along the Loire River demanding justice for Steve.
“Where is Steve?” became a rhetorical question, a way to criticize heavy-handed police interventions and tactics during peaceful gathering and protests.
On July 30, police confirmed the body pulled from the Loire River the day before is the missing music fan.