since January 2023, millions Protesters have taken to the streets peacefully Franceprotest a pension reform Scheme that increases the retirement age by two years to 64 years.
Last week, as President Emmanuel Macron prepared to lose a parliamentary vote on a pension plan, his cabinet invoked a constitutional article To bypass the vote. The decision enraged the protesters and led to violent confrontations between some protesters and the police. Very Video, picturesAnd testimony circulating on social and traditional media Suggest that the police have used a harsh, disproportionate and indiscriminate response.
Right Group and independent bodies, including national advisory commission on human rights, criticized for french police Support to force and make preventive arrests This may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. french defender of rights noted on 21 March that “this practice may increase the risk of resorting to custodial measures and exacerbate tensions.” According Reporters Without Borders, several clearly identifiable journalists were attacked by security forces while covering protests against “pension reform”.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association on 20 March warning French authorities say that “peaceful demonstrations are a fundamental right that the authorities must guarantee and protect. Law enforcement authorities must facilitate them and avoid excessive use of force.”
Police use of excessive force during protests in France is nothing new. In December 2018, Human Rights Watch Document Injuries caused by police weapons during France’s “Yellow Vest” mobilization and uncoordinated student protests, including those whose limbs were immediately burned and crippled by the presumed use of teargas grenades. We also documented cases in which people were shot and injured by a rubber ball-sized projectile, and the disproportionate use of chemical spray and “stingball” riot-control grenades.
As the demonstrations continue, the French authorities must respect the rights of the protesters. They must evaluate whether the use of police tactics is necessary and proportionate, investigate allegations of excessive use of force, and hold officers responsible for misconduct accountable. Authorities should ensure that during demonstrations, law enforcement officials use force only when strictly necessary, as per rules International Standard,
Macron’s government needs to demonstrate that it is committed to rights to freedom of speech and assembly, including the right to peacefully protest.