The administrative court of Rouen, ruling in summary proceedings, suspended on Friday May 5 a prefectural decree which provided for the use of drones as part of a rally this weekend against the motorway bypass project east of Rouen.
The execution of the decree of the prefect of the Eure of May 3, 2023 which authorizes the capture, recording and transmission of images by aircraft on the occasion of the festival “Budgets in the roads” planned for Léry from May 5 to 8, 2023 is suspended
”, writes the judge in chambers in this decision that AFP was able to consult.
The magistrate considers that in the state of the investigation, the prefect "
does not justify (...) the need to use cameras installed on aircraft
According to the organizers, the rally in Léry (Eure) is intended to be "
at the same time family, festive, naturalistic, instructive and determined to affirm our opposition to the destructive project of highways east of Rouen
To justify this decree, “
the prefect of Eure considered that the planned gathering was likely to cause serious disturbances to public order
”, recalls the judge.
According to the judge, the prefect was referring to the very violent clashes that occurred during the demonstration on March 25 and 26 in Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres), after the appeal launched in particular by the collective Les Uprisings of the Earth, also co-organizer of the festival. “
Sticks in the roads
The prefect considered it "
", given the size of the area to be secured, the characteristics of the site, "
to have a wide-angle vision to limit the commitment of forces on the ground
", recalls the magistrate.
However, it follows from the investigation (…) that this festival presents itself as (…) family
”, underlines the judge.
The mere fact that it is co-organized by the collective 'Les uprisings of the earth' (...) is not enough to characterize the possibility of the occurrence of serious disturbances to public order
", considers the judge.
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This is also the argument put forward by the lawyer for the associations organizing the event, Chloé Chalot, who at the hearing considered that "
referring to Sainte-Soline is not enough to characterize a serious disturbance to public order.
Are we going to put a drone at every festival, at every fair or gathering of farmers?
Asked the lawyer, worrying about
the “deterrent effect
” of such a measure vis-à-vis people planning to visit the site.
The government is considering the dissolution of the Uprisings of the Earth, which brings together dozens of local collectives committed to environmental issues.
A “festive” event
According to a representative of the prefecture at the hearing, the decree provided for the use of "
" with 45 to 50 minutes of flight autonomy.
Drones are not intended to monitor and record festival-goers (...) in the event of a ground alert
", they serve to "
verify the nature of the actions
", he argued.
The event is presented as festive, but a number of elements have led to believe that risks could take place
," he added.
1500 festival-goers are expected on the site during the weekend, according to the prefecture.
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The use of drones has recently been the subject of several administrative appeals.
Authorized by the administrative court of Paris for the procession of May 1, the administrative court of Rouen suspended the perimeter and the hours of use of drones during the parade of May 1 in Le Havre.
On May 16, the Council of State must examine an appeal against the decree published on April 20 by the government, relating to the use of drones by the police and gendarmes.