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Marie Vesco RIP

RIP | 07.06.2008 19:57 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | London | South Coast

Marie Vesco, a French activist involved with the London direct action
groups Whitechapel Food Not Bombs and Brixton Reclaim Our Food
(amongst others) was killed whilst cycling to the Carnival Against the Arms
Trade on Wednesday.

Marie was part of a group of twelve cyclists who left Brixton in the
early hours of the morning to join the Smash EDO demo. They were on the
A23 by Burgess Hill when an impatient gas guzzling imbecile swerved
across two lanes straight into Marie, then another car hit her. She
died instantly, there was nothing her friends could have done. The
driver of the second car got straight on his phone as soon as he came to
a halt - not for an ambulance but to call his lawyer. He then
started pushing Marie's mates around. One driver was nicked.

Marie was just a few days away from her 20th birthday, and a massively
popular figure on the London activist scene. She was a warm, loud,
fun, vivacious figure with an infectious laugh that was always ready to
help others. Until recently she lived at the Rampart2 social centre,
where she was always on hand help with skipping for food, cooking
and helping out. Her friends also said that she loved to flirt -
everyone asked for her number. She had suggested doing the last part of the
bike ride naked.

Part of the Food Not Bombs group, just the day before she died, they'd
been outside McDonalds in Brixton with a sound system and a load of
free vegan burgers for the Climate Day of Action.
She had plans to start a social centre of her own.

When the news of her death was broken to the crowd that had just
escaped the clutches of the police on Brighton's Level there was a minute's
silence for her.

Her friends, as well as the wider activist community, are devastated by
the news of her death. She had done so much for other people in her
life in such a small time, we will never know what else she could
have achieved. Her friends have said that they take some consolation in
the knowing that her life will inspire them and others to carry on
the causes that she left behind.

Her death brings it home just how dangerous it can be to do the right
thing. Although the A23 is supposedly OK for cyclists, there are no
cycle lanes, and bikes are expected to compete for space with caffeine
addled truckers and wankers in 4x4s. The cost of a proper cycle
network wouldn't exactly break the bank of the world's 5th richest
country, but the government is in bed with the car and oil industries.

This isn't gonna stay like this though, as cyclists are a notoriously
tight bunch, and are prepared to fight tooth and cog for road space.
Critical Mass bike rides are held at the end of the month all over the
world, and their pedal power is a fun way of imparting a serious
message. The London Critical Mass makes a point of stopping at the site
of fatal crashes involving cyclists. Make sure you're there at next
Critical Mass; whatever town you're in make it massive.


Marie's Campaigns:
Whitechapel Food Not Bombs
Brixton Reclaim Your Food