3/29/2021France, Italy, UK: Vigilantes Declare Speed Cameras Non Essential
Speed cameras in France disabled as Non Essential while cameras in Italy and UK were cut down last week.
Vigilantes in France last week continued to use any means necessary to deactivate the automated ticketing machines they called "symbols of a racketeering, oppressor state." The government's best efforts at silencing the movement, such as arresting Yellow Vest protesters to send a message, did not slow the destruction. An ongoing court case in Nice reveals some of the techniques police agencies have used to hunt down suspects. Six individuals were accused of attacking several speed cameras in 2019. Police accessed GPS records of anyone near the camera locations to identify any participants who brought their mobile phones to the scene of camera destruction. A lighter found at the site of a burned out camera contained the DNA of a defendant. For most attacks, however, police never find the individuals responsible.
Vigilantes are increasingly making broader political statements against the French government. On Friday, the speed camera on the RD977 in Suippes was blinded with green spraypaint with the message, "Non Essential" scrawled on the side visible to passing motorists. In Pierremande on March 22, a "Non Essential" sticker was applied to the lens of the speed camera on the RD1, preventing it from issuing automated tickets. The trend has even spread to the Mediterranean island Corsica, where a "Non Essential" sticker blinded a photo radar device in Figari. In Saint-Die-des-Vosges, creative vigilantes planted a set of tree branches in front of the speed camera on the RD420, ensuring the device installed just two days prior could no longer issue tickets.
More conventional attacks also continued. In Saint-Viaud on Friday, the speed camera on the RD723 was destroyed by fire. On Thursday, green spraypaint was used to blind the speed camera on the RN61 in Grosbliederstroff. On Tuesday, vigilantes used orange spraypaint to blind the newly installed speed camera on the RD1 in Mieuxce, ensuring it would never have a chance to issue any tickets. On March 20, orange spraypaint and the symbol of the euro blinded the frequently targeted speed camera on the RD67 in Marnay.
In Venice, Italy, vigilantes cut down a speed camera and then rammed it with a vehicle. The housing was left dumped in a field. Vigilantes in Londonderry, England, on March 21 used an angle grinder to cut down the pole-mounted automated license plate reader (ALPR, also known as ANPR in Europe) located on Creggan Road. The device is used to record the movements of all drivers on the road, whether or not they are suspected of any crime.