What is striking is the silence. A thick silence beaten by an icy wind. Not a word but bodies held together under the autumn sun, tears, shoulders hugged tightly, and then Thomas’ jovial face displayed everywhere on the white t-shirts and banners. The teenager would have turned 17 in December. This Wednesday, November 22, there are thousands of them (more than 6,000 according to the gendarmerie) to march in Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme) to pay tribute to the young man killed on the night of Saturday 18 to Sunday 19 November with knife wounds, during a very violent attack on the sidelines of a village ball in Crépol , 500 inhabitants, in the Drôme des collines.
The procession sets off at 1:30 p.m. in front of the Dauphiné high school, where Thomas – in his final year of STI2D – studied, behind banners held by his relatives, solemn faces, “Thomas, we love you”, “Justice for Thomas”. Members of his rugby team close the ranks, wearing blue RC Romanais Péageois jerseys and the message “Thomas rest in peace”, in memory of their young captain. We only hear the sound of footsteps and the le of flashes from the journalists, who are very numerous. The march ends with a guard of honor at the stadium where the teenager trained. “ Your presence in numbers testifies to the extraordinary attachment that Thomas had when we crossed his path”greets an organizer.
Clusters of balloons fly away, then applause. With a beret on his head and a portrait of Thomas on his chest, Jean-Louis Bringer holds back neither tears nor anger. School bus driver, he transported Thomas to high school and rugby, “he was one of our kids, he was happy, he was the DJ in the bus.” “Let the French state do something for our rural communities”urges the man, believing that there is no “not enough police stations”, that need “restore public services everywhere”.
“We must wait, trust in justice”
Added to the pain and trauma of certain residents was the exploitation of the tragedy by the far right and part of the right, fueling the idea of a supposed rivalry between a France of cities, considered threatening, and a France of villages, which would be overcome by insecurity. Arrested with eight other people, the alleged perpetrator of the fatal stabbings nevertheless lives in ” center “ from Romans-sur-Isère, and “no, the Monnaie district”, one of the cities pointed out by some, according to details provided by the Valencia prosecutor. The latter declared that the links between the suspects “do not seem to be based on such territorial “logics”.
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