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In some cases, students blockaded schools. These have included largely peaceful marches in compliance with police directions, acts of civil disobedience, and some acts of violence including arson, looting, damage to property, and attacks on the police. Law enforcement authorities have dealt with these demonstrations with increasing police deployments and escalating riot control measures.
As of December 11, according to official figures , 1, demonstrators and bystanders had been wounded, 46 seriously, in the demonstrations. In , the United Nations Human Rights Committee called on France to train law enforcement officials to stop them from using excessive force or nonlethal weapons in situations that do not warrant them. Since , when the French police started to use rubber projectile launchers, their use has resulted in at least one documented death.
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Several people have been blinded by rubber projectiles, including a demonstrator hurt on December 8, according to media reports. In December , the Defender of Rights urged the government to provide improved guidance on the use of nonlethal force, including the GLI-F4 grenade.
- Die jungen Eulenrieds (German Edition).
- Guide Triple Crossing (POLICIERS) (French Edition).
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The lawyers have written to the prime minister calling for an end to this weapon for crowd control. As of December 11, media reports indicated that the General Inspectorate of the National Police, the internal oversight body, had opened 22 investigations into alleged police misconduct following complaints from 15 gilets jaunes , 6 high-school students, and a journalist. Authorities should consider stopping the use of tear gas grenades until the guidance around their use has been clarified and direct police to stop using rubber projectiles against peaceful protesters or bystanders or where there is risk of injury to children.
Human Rights Watch interviewed six people and spoke or corresponded with lawyers for four other people who reported having suffered injury, and interviewed eight eyewitnesses to these injuries. Seven interviewees were children. A Human Rights Watch observer also monitored the policing of demonstrations across Paris I, II, XIII, IX, and XI arrondissements on December 8, , some of which were entirely or largely peaceful, and some of which included demonstrators who engaged in violence and caused significant damage to property. The names of all children, as well as any adults who requested it, have been anonymized to protect their privacy or ongoing legal proceedings.
Human Rights Watch informed interviewees of the purpose of the interview and its voluntary nature, and they verbally consented to be interviewed. Journalist unions and press freedom advocates have made public statements about these incidents and brought complaints to police oversight bodies. They also address other policing practices such as bag searches and confiscation of property which they believe infringe their rights to free expression and to seek, receive, and impart information freely.
The French government has responded by saying it respects these rights, and called on journalists to always identify themselves clearly. Kharlamoff wrote to Human Rights Watch:. On this occasion I took the necessary precautions to work safely: helmet, goggles, a mask and a PRESS armband…The tension was such that police in civilian clothing began to use flashballs against demonstrators. In trying to get myself out of this particularly dangerous situation, I was hit in the right side by a flashball.
I fell to the floor, as it hurt terribly. Some demonstrators helped me to a place where I could receive care. I then went to see the emergency services to have the wound assessed. The assessment: a big old bruise, but nothing broken. Yann Foreix , a reporter for Le Parisien , spoke with Human Rights Watch to confirm details of his account of a rubber projectile injury sustained on December 8 in Paris. In a written account , accompanied by a photograph of damage to his helmet, he said:. I was shot at from behind from about 2 meters away. At close range. I thought it was a paving stone.
I was evacuated to a hospital. Nigel Dickinson , an independent photographer, gave Human Rights Watch a detailed account of a rubber projectile injury sustained on December 8 in Paris. He said:. It was a moment of calm. The nearest person was at least 4 or 5 meters away from me. I have no idea why I was hit.
There was no tear gas around at the time. It was just a single shot.
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It was either aimed or mis-aimed at me in the belly, about five centimeters from my belly button. But after this, the first few days I was in shock.
It was initially a very sharp stinging pain, and then a throbbing pain. It has stopped me from sleeping properly. One of the complaints lodged collectively before the High Court of Paris the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris by lawyers for several individuals injured by tear gas grenades on November 24, states the following:. Throwing this sort of grenade, given that it is known and established to be dangerous, particularly given the nature of the wounds caused to GX, is a positive act of violence.
It is irrelevant that GX, FX and MX were not targeted specifically by the person carrying out the violent act, or that he did not intend to cause the harm…because he voluntarily used this type of weapon in a calm area, without following regulations.
Mr GX has a maimed hand and has suffered multiple skin wounds from grenade debris lodging itself particularly in his right leg and face. GX has been operated upon at Hospital X by Doctor X, working under Professor X, with a surgery of the hand and the upper limb and peripheral nerves aimed at reconstructing his hand…. Human Rights Watch also spoke with the lawyer for U. Human Rights Watch spoke with 10 high-school students, ages 15 to 18, who experienced or witnessed what appears to be disproportionate use by French police of nonlethal but injurious crown-control tactics in response to protests by high-school students in early December.
Human Rights Watch spoke with a year-old high school student, I. During the blockade, some trash cans and a tree were set on fire and a mortier an improvised firework bomb had been thrown towards the police forces. Firing a rubber projectile in that situation appears unjustified and not aimed at neutralizing a direct threat to the police forces. He has not been back to school since but expects to return on December He told Human Rights Watch:. I arrived at school at 8.
The atmosphere was hectic and people from the nearby housing estate were throwing pebbles and firecrackers. I was standing to one side, I did not feel threatened at all because I was there innocently, I did not do anything, so I thought they could not do anything to me.
I was just there as a spectator. It was not justified at all anyway. Protesters appeared to throw flares as police responded with tear gas. The confrontation came after a day of tension across Paris on Saturday and unprecedented police efforts to prevent new violence. The yellow vest movement started as a protest over a fuel tax rise but has expanded into an amorphous protest movement that French authorities are struggling to contain.
The police chief of Imperia, a northwestern Italian coastal town on the highway toward France, says yellow-vested French protesters have blocked the border with Italy near the town of Ventimiglia.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Police Chief Cesare Capocasa as saying the protest was causing a 6-kilometer nearly 4-mile backup of traffic in both directions on Saturday afternoon. A handful of people in yellow vests had joined the quiet march by mid-afternoon. Protesters smashed street signs and traffic lights near a police barricade blocking access to the office of Prime Minister Charles Michel, as they chanted slogans calling on him to resign.
Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere says around protesters are gathered in the area. About have been detained, many for possessing dangerous objects like fireworks or wearing clothing that could be used as protection in clashes with police. In the Netherlands, about protesters gathered in a peaceful demonstration outside the Dutch parliament in The Hague. At least two protesters were detained by police in central Amsterdam. While the situation is tense, police appear to have it more under control than a week ago, when rioting and looting overwhelmed Paris security forces.
Like several neighborhoods of Paris, the area is largely locked down, with many stores shuttered for fear of violence. Overall police estimate there are about 8, yellow vest protesters in Paris on Saturday, down from last week. Belgian police are scuffling with yellow-vested protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel as hundreds of marchers try to enter the European quarter of Brussels.
Police used pepper spray on a small group of men who threw street signs, bottles and other objects as they tried to break through a barricade near the European Parliament.