Grenoble: Small bulletin about a town hall in flames

A month later, a collection of articles from the local press and how we experienced it:

“Calmed metropolis or town hall in flames?

That Sunday of 29th September 2019 at the hour when the black cats go out, some lighters with balaclavas linked to the anarchist-autonome movement according to reliable sources, headed for the town hall of Grenoble.

After access to the town hall was freed, the fuel accidentally spilled on to some chairs. For some unknown reason, these were stacked against a wooden wall.

So the lighters, armed with their brave sparks, ignited the room in a deafening light.

They made a pact to empty all their gas in the burning of institutions.

Update 30th September: A text referring to this fire reached the editors yesterday. Here are its contents:

“We see written everywhere that we are living in a “calmed metropolis”. That the benefits of the Smart City will revolutionize our lives. Yet, it’s always the same greyness, even if it is hidden behind your façades of ecolo eco-neighbourhoods or coloured by your Street Art Fest. Destroying is what calms us. Suddenly we thought of proposing a not quite innovative project to the participative budget of the town of Grenoble: setting fire to democracy. Far too costly to be put to the vote, we managed it ourselves. But we are sure that if we had burnt the town council hall earlier, the citizenists could have voted in favour of its  reconstruction”.

Were these few lines written by delinquents? Are they to be considered a claim? If so, everything leads one to believe that their act is a direct action against the participative politics currently being carried out by mayor Eric Piolle.”


Accident? Did you say accident? The Saint-Jacques* church destroyed thanks to the whim of a short circuit, was that an accident? Slipping on a staircase, that’s an accident. On the contrary, a public building catching fire? On a Sunday, in the middle of the night? With traces of fuel and several fire starting points? This can’t be an accident. And we thought that the Miami Experts were never wrong!

On the subject: two “youths” on a scooter “crash against a wall” as they are being chased by the BAC, people “falling” down into the water of seas and rivers **, the list is sadly endless. Were these accidents perhaps?

Cops, politicians and the media use words and expressions orientated towards the privileged. For example, in the case of police violence to protect their institutions, in the case of racist violence, which aims to defend white domination, in the case of gender violence and feminicides, to perpetuate patriarchy.

According to you, the victim is the one responsible for the act, to hear and read you, one would think that the victim wanted to be wounded, assaulted, raped, killed. At the same time, nothing about the aggressor, the rapist, the murderer. Nothing that criticizes patriarchy. Nothing that considers the impact on the person victim. Everything discredits their words, what they experienced. Everything, on the contrary, that makes girls look like victims, as if this was the only thing that matters. Nothing about the aggressor’s responsibility. Nothing about the concept of consent.

Your words and your conclusions make us bleed when we see the extent of their damage.


This direct action is the reflection of our rejection of democracy and citizenism, at whatever level. To let oneself be represented and thus put aside one’s power of reflection, decision and action is a choice that we do not accept. In a room of a town hall decisions/positions are made through fake consensus, projects are already decided and consultations are pseudo-debates directed by the “elected”. This place represents choices we cannot make, orientations that bind us, people who seize power to the detriment of those who die locked up in institutions, laws arbitrarily dictated and imposed. No power is small when suffered, not even when it is hidden behind a nearby-local-representative-participative democracy (or horizontal functioning). These are all forms for controlling and breaking individual and collective impetus which doesn’t fit into your neat boxes. Basically, is it not a question of establishing the power of the self-righteous in a rotten system?

We also wanted to talk about news, about “victim” mayors. This summer a news item hit the headlines. The mayor of a small village was killed for a story of “wild” litter left on the side of a road. We won’t analyse what happened. On the other hand what came after interests us. The media of disinformation went wild and local political representatives let loose: “our job is too hard”, “no recognition”, as cops also say. To all the elected officials who feel invested with a mission to save everyone, we say: you have only our destructive contempt!

To have attacked the town hall is therefore full of symbolism for us. Destroying and showing that our choices and our actions take place outside your institutions filled us with rapture. To burn this building is to question the place that we take / could (imagine) taking, it is realizing that institutions only exist because we don’t destroy them / don’t even imagine destroying. The structures of power might well appear to be untouchable, but they have cracks. We burned the town hall of Grenoble and we will remember the power we took back with this act of rebellion. Enough submitting to this institutional domination, better turn against its structures to succumb to them less.

Until the day, which will not happen, when morality, the State and your laws will all have burned.

In support of all the rebels who attack this world.


Notes of the Italian translator:

* On 17th January 2019, the Saint-Jacques church was completely destroyed in a fire in Grenoble. An accident, according to investigators, in spite of a claim. On the occasion of the burning of the town hall, during a press conference prosecutors admitted that the first case was also arson (but who cares about newspapers and investigators? Why consider them a counterpart to talk to or to prove wrong? At the very best we can take the mickey out of their incompetence!)

** The mention of death in rivers reminds one of Steve Maia Caniço’s case, as he drowned after falling in the Loire on 22nd June in Nantes, as police charged heavily to evacuate a place where a musical party was being held.

[Translated from French/Italian by Act for freedom now!]

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