Concerns have been raised “about the number and severity of injuries resulting from the use of force by law enforcement officers” during Yellow Vest anti-government protests in Paris by a pan-European human right body.
The European Commission for Human Rights has published its initial observations following a mission to Paris after Commissioner Dunja Mijatović travelled to Paris for meetings with the government, police, and “civil society groups” on Monday.
Bringing up the high level of violence and injuries resulting from protests in Paris and other French cities which have taken place over the past 11 weekends, Mijatović said: “The high level of tension currently prevailing in France gives me cause for concern and I believe that there is an urgent need to calm the situation.”
— Commissioner for Human Rights (@CommissionerHR) January 29, 2019
The press release from the Council of Europe, a body separate from but close to the European Union, revealed “The Commissioner is particularly concerned about the large number of people injured, some very seriously, in or on the sidelines of the protests, including by projectiles from so-called intermediary defence weapons such as the defensive bullet launcher.”
The comments came just days after a senior Yellow Vest leader was shot in the head with a so-called ‘flash-ball’ anti-riot round by French police, and may yet lose an eye.
Acknowledging the stress police are under, which the commissioner notes include injured comrades as well as “excessive workload and… insufficient training in crowd control techniques” Mijatović expressed concern nevertheless about “the number and severity of injuries resulting from the use of force by law enforcement officers.”
Euro Watchdog Investigates Yellow Vest Protest Policing ‘Human Rights Issues’ https://t.co/we8nc9ceuG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 28, 2019
The commissioner also warned against “disproportionate” actions presently being discussed by the French government to crack down on the anti-Macron protests, including prohibiting demonstrations without judicial review, which she warned could constitute a “restriction of the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly”.
The expressions of concern comes a month after Amnesty International condemned the level of police violence used against the Yellow Vests, and after images and footage of police and protesters clashing made frontpage news worldwide.
Breitbart London has reported on the extraordinary and unprecedented policing measures deployed by the French state against the protests, including deploying police with live ammunition rifles, and armoured personnel carriers.
Around 2,000 Yellow Vests and 1,000 police officers have been hurt in the protests to date.
PICTURES: Tear Gas, Fires, and Riot Police at Paris Yellow Vest Protest https://t.co/SvK6pqDfFp
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 26, 2019
One doctor said of the number of protesters being shot in the head by anti-riot ammunition: “The head is still something very fragile. At the level of the face, projectiles at high velocity can only cause damage.
“Whether it’s voluntary or a sign of incompetence, that’s a problem.”
“I have been working in this sector since the 1980s and this is the first time I have seen so many serious injuries during a social movement,” he added.