Last updated on 28th July 2019
The activist Geneviève Legay, 73 years old, badly wounded during the Yellow Vests demonstration on March 23rd in Nice, gave her first interviews to the press on April 8th. The pensioner denounced the police pressure was put on her and made remarks without concessions to the French president. “Macron is not an example of wisdom, but an example of contempt and violence,” she told Mediapart.
From Cimiez hospital, where she has just been transferred to and where she will spend several weeks of convalescence, Geneviève Legay expressed herself about the past two weeks, after the fall that caused her to have several fractures of the skull, as well as of the coccyx . She also suffers from subarachnoid haemorrhaging and non-resorptive subdural haematoma. Her balance, hearing, and sense of smell are always impaired. In contrast, the “Attac” activist did not lose her fighting spirit. She spoke about the moment of the accident to Mediapart: “There, I found myself facing a police cordon. I was facing them and, behind me, there were my friends a few meters away”.
She says she did not hear the police say that they were going to charge. “Then everything was fast and abrupt. I saw the police rush at us for no reason. Then, I remember being stunned, and I was pushed by a policeman. I had the impression of having received a blow and then I do not remember anything”. Geneviève Legay woke up in a bad condition at the hospital.
She believes that she was beaten with a truncheon. “How could I be hurt from the front, from behind, and find myself on the ground without remembering? I think I took a bludgeon, I fell,” she told BFM TV.
Police officers came to pressure the old lady
The judicial inquiry will now be responsible for determining the exact circumstances of the accident. The first elements of the investigation made it possible to determine that Geneviève Legay had been pushed by a policeman, a possibility confirmed by the state prosecutor of Nice. The policeman in question confessed his gesture, which he said he regretted, but explained that he had obeyed the orders given by his superiors.
These revelations come after a soap opera in which Emmanuel Macron and the Nice prosecutor had given an exact opposite version of events. The President of the Republic had assured from March 25th, two days after the incident, in an interview with “Nice Matin“ that “this lady did [not] come into contact with the police”. The Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Prêtre had also assured on March 25th at a press conference: “What we also know from the images, pixel by pixel, is that she was not hit by the police, by a shield, or by a man”. He suggested that a journalist could have knocked her down.
Two police officers repeatedly tried to confess this version of events to Geneviève Legay, who told BFMTV: “From Sunday morning, three times, two policemen came to make me say that it was the journalist who had pushed me. They came to me three times to say it and I said no”.
As a result of these setbacks, the injured party’s lawyer filed a complaint against “X” for “wilful violence at a meeting with a weapon by persons in charge of public authority and against a vulnerable person” and “witness tampering”, because of the pressure put on the old lady.
Geneviève Legay told Mediapart that she wants the real leaders to be targeted: “I know that the policeman who pushed me received orders from his superiors, Commissioner Souchi, the police chief, and the Ministry of the Interior. […] I want to go back to the people in charge and not just the simple performers of orders”.
She also severely blamed the president for advising her to have more wisdom in an interview published in “Nice Matin” on March 25th, explaining that “in order to have peace of mind, one must behave responsibly”. Indignant that he could give “lessons of wisdom without looking at himself”, she told Mediapart: “Macron is not an example of wisdom, but an example of contempt and violence”.
She did not spare the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi either, who had estimated the injuries sustained by the old lady as being light. “It’s a shame,” she said.