Council of Europe warns against state “excessive use of force” in France – RT in French
While many lawyers, magistrates and politicians denounce police violence during demonstrations against pension reform in France, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights spoke on the subject.
“Violent incidents have taken place, some of which have targeted law enforcement,” said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic in a statement on 24 March, referring to the violence that has occurred in recent days in France during the mobilizations against the pension reform. And to add: “But the sporadic acts of violence of certain demonstrators or other reprehensible acts committed by others during a demonstration cannot justify the excessive use of force by agents of the State “.
Sporadic acts of violence by some demonstrators or other reprehensible acts committed by others during a demonstration cannot justify the excessive use of force by State agents
“Nor are these acts sufficient to deprive peaceful protesters of the enjoyment of the right to freedom of assembly,” the commissioner also said, according to comments reported by AFP. “It is up to the authorities to allow the effective exercise of these freedoms, by protecting peaceful demonstrators and journalists covering these demonstrations against police violence and against violent individuals acting in or on the sidelines of the processions”, underlined Dunja Mijatovic.
The head of the Council of Europe also expressed her concern about the arrest and detention in police custody of certain demonstrators and unsold goods in the vicinity of the mobilizations, wondering about “the necessity and the proportionality of the measures to which they have been subjected”.
On March 21, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin argued that participation in an undeclared demonstration constituted a “crime” which “deserves” an arrest. In addition, on March 24, the member of the government announced the opening of 11 judicial investigations into alleged police violence for a week, as part of the demonstrations against the pension reform.
Reacting to Gérald Darmanin’s remarks, Dunja Mijatovic affirmed that “the failure to declare a demonstration is not sufficient in itself to justify an infringement of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly of demonstrators, nor a criminal sanction imposed on participants in such a demonstration.
Demonstrations, notably spontaneous, have multiplied in France since the use by the government of article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass the highly contested pension reform to the Assembly. Numerous violence between demonstrators and the police have punctuated these mobilizations in recent days.
Unions of lawyers, magistrates and politicians – in particular on the left – denounced police violence and, as recently as March 24, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on the Minister of the Interior to “put an end to to police violence against journalists”.
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