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Demonstration in Caen on June 4, 1994
In France, the biggest demonstration against the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place on 4th June 1994 in Caen (Normandie). The demonstration gathered around 10.000 persons, and was organized by “Citizens for Bosnia Herzegovina against ethnic purification” and other French solidarity groups.
The date and place were chosen because of the 50th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy in 1944. The demonstration would coincide with the official gathering of international heads of state and governments coming to Normandy to celebrate this historical event. The organizers of the demonstration wanted to point at the contradiction between the government’s celebration of the resistance against fascism in 1944 and their current attitude regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina. In one their leaflets, with the title “On June 4 in Caen: Let’s demonstrate against a new barbarism / For a Europe in solidarity with Bosnia”, the organizers wrote:
“(…) RESISTANCE is not the cult of the past, the MEMORY of past massacres must not obscure those of the present. (…) We will go to Caen on 4 June to affirm, in this high place of the Liberation, that WE CANNOT ABANDON THE RESISTANCE FIGHTERS OF TODAY IN BOSNIA AND CELEBRATE THE RESISTANCE FIGHTERS OF YESTERDAY. They are fighting for the same cause: the refusal of the dismemberment of their country, of Europe, by racist nationalisms. It is alongside this resistance that our governments should have intervened. It is at its side that we are. (…)”
The demonstration was supported by several former resistance fighters, for example Marek Edelman, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis in 1943, and Jean-René Chauvin, former member of the French resistance and survivor of Mauthausen, Auschwitz and Buchenwald.