The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has called for a “thorough investigation” into violent police tactics against Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protesters in France.
Ms Bachelet called for the investigation during a speech at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying that the Yellow Vest protests were about “what they see as an exclusion of economic rights and participation in public affairs,” Le Figaro reports.
“We encourage the government to continue the dialogue and urgently call for a thorough investigation of all reported cases of excessive use of force,” she said.
The call for an investigation and criticism of violent police tactics follows other bodies which have called into question the number of injuries from weapons such as the “flash-ball” launcher.
Late last month, the Council of Europe slammed the government of French president Emmanuel Macron and called on France to end the use of flash-balls.
Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic also wrote a letter to President Macron urging his government to “refrain from introducing excessive restrictions to freedom of peaceful assembly.”
Doctors Say Number of Serious Injuries Inflicted on Yellow Vests Unprecedented https://t.co/pkM4WI3sNF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 23, 2019
“The introduction of an administrative ban on demonstrating should be avoided as this would constitute a serious interference in the exercise of this right, especially as there is already provision in the internal security code for the judicial authorities to impose a ban on demonstrating,” Mijatovic said.
President Macron has since rejected international criticism, saying “the best way to avoid these uses and these cases is to avoid having people who consider that a Saturday afternoon is for smashing windows, institutions, or attacking the police force.”
“I say it very simply, I will not leave the police without any means to ensure public order, or to defend against people who arrive today,” he added.
Several Yellow Vest protesters have been seriously injured as a result of flash-ball launcher use including several who have lost eyes and others who have had their hands torn to shreds.
Wounded Yellow Vests Denounce Police Brutality in Latest Anti-Macron Protests https://t.co/IX4pkSV2km
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 2, 2019