French Anarchist-Claimed Arson Attack Is Latest in Infrastructure Sabotage Trend

A protester wears a leather jacket bearing the circle-A, an anarchist symbol, and the acronym ACAB which means "All Cops Are Bastards" (or sometimes "All Capitalists Are Bastards") during a demonstration against France's immigration and asylum law and facism in Paris on June 2, 2018. (Photo by LUCAS BARIOULET / …

Far-left French anarchists have taken credit for two arson attacks on a telecommunications company in the latest act of infrastructure sabotage claimed by far-left militants.

The two attacks took place last week in the communes of Brézins on Thursday the 18th of February and another in the commune of Sassenage, near the city of Grenoble on the night between Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th.

Both arson attacks targetted the French telecommunications company Constructel and saw damage to company vehicles as well as fibre optic cables, which are used to deliver high-speed internet, destroyed. In Sassenage, a 300-metre fibre optic tower was also set on fire, according to a report from broadcaster Franceinfo.

Earlier this week, far-left Antifa anarchist extremists took credit for the attacks on the far-left web platform Indymedia, stating, “We claim the double attack in Isère of the company CONSTRUCTEL. First in Brezins and 48 hours later in Grenoble.”

The anarchists explained their motive for the attacks saying, “it is not to protest against 5G in particular but in a broader context, fighting against the techno-world.”

“We want to salute all the arsonists who are acting in the shadows at the moment and repeatedly beating this technological hell,” the anarchists said and expressed support for the far-left militants currently being prosecuted for terrorism after allegedly plotting to murder French police officers and soldiers.

The attacks are just the latest in a trend of attacks on communications infrastructure by Antifa militants in France and come just two years after anarchists took credit for setting fire to a radio station belonging to broadcaster France Bleu in Isère as well as setting fire to a transmitter located just outside Grenoble.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an NGO that defends journalists rights and press freedom, reported in 2019 that local prosecutor Eric Vaillant had stated that the same far-left anarchist group had taken credit for at least 12 arson attacks in the Grenoble area since 2017.

In 2020, anarchists were suspected of being behind several more arson attacks on infrastructure including an attack on a broadcast relay in May of last year that disrupted local radio broadcasts and put many in southern Grenoble without mobile internet or telephone service.

Prosecutor Eric Vaillant made attempts to refer the cases to the French national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office last year, but the office ultimately rejected taking up an investigation into the anarchist attacks.

Earlier his year in January, French National Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Laurent Nuñez claimed that far-left militants in France had been behind at least 170 acts of sabotage since March of 2020, with telecommunications infrastructure accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the targets of attacks.

Arson attacks on telecommunications infrastructure have also been reported in other European countries such as the Netherlands and Italy, according to newspaper Le Parisien that noted: “ultra-left networks are known to maintain close links with their foreign counterparts.”

One act of sabotage in Italy saw anarchist extremists set fire to a railway electrical hub just outside the city of Florence in 2019, causing hours of delays for passengers of high-speed trains.

In Canada, similar train sabotage was called for by Antifa extremists in 2020 in support of an anti-pipeline protest and allegedly in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

Canadian transport minister Marc Garneau later confirmed that part of the Canadian railway infrastructure had been tampered with.

In 2018, anarchists in the Canadian French-speaking province of Quebec also took credit for the sabotage of a telecommunications network during the G7 summit that took place earlier that year.

Like their French counterparts, the Canadian anarchists set fire to a telecommunications pole to disrupt communications in Quebec City and Baie-Saint-Paul.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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