“Where is Steve?”

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Last year, the summer local news saga was the migrant camp downtown Nantes. This year, it’s the story of “Steve”—and more generally police brutality.

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.

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Île de Nantes, where the festival and police brutality took place on June 21

Human chain on July 20 to ask "Where is Steve?"

Human chain on July 20 to ask “Where is Steve?”

Human chain on July 20 to ask "Where is Steve?"

Human chain on July 20 to ask “Where is Steve?”

Human chain on July 20 to ask "Where is Steve?"

Human chain on July 20 to ask “Where is Steve?”

Human chain on July 20 to ask "Where is Steve?"

Human chain on July 20 to ask “Where is Steve?”

Police looking for the body on July 29

Police looking for the body on July 29

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French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

2 Comments

  1. Cecile Puertas on

    Hello Juliette
    Je suis très partagée sur cette affaire.
    D’un côté il semble que la police soit intervenue très brutalement pour disperser un attroupement qui ne portait pas atteinte à l’ordre public.
    D’un autre côté il semble que le jeune homme ne savait pas nager et la Loire est un fleuve dangereux. Les décès par noyade sont encore fréquents en France et en eau douce (lacs, rivières, étangs…)
    Bavue policière ou malheureux accident, difficile à dire …

    • Je suis assez partagée aussi, surtout que ces dernières années, des fêtards sont tombés “seuls” à l’eau. Le seul truc, c’est que ces derniers mois, la police a réprimé très violemment les manifs et attroupements. Quand on voit le lieu (vraiment pas de voisinage, ils ne gênaient personne) et sa dangerosité (à quelques mètres de l’eau sans vraies barrières) ont peut vraiment se demander qui est le con qui a ordonné à la police de charger. C’était tellement évident que certaines personnes allaient tomber à l’eau…

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