French police massively injures protesters

This 27 January 2019 video by French News agency AFP says about itself:

A prominent French anti-government “yellow vest” activist, badly injured in the eye at a protest, was struck with one of the controversial rubber bullets used by police.

This French video says (translated):

Since the beginning of the Yellow Vest movement, thousands of casualties have been counted among the protesters, from simple bruising to the injuries caused by the strongly criticized Defense Ball Launcher (LBD). Shocking images.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

How the resistance grows against a controversial French weapon that injures yellow vests

Its name is ‘LBD40’, which until recently was completely unknown to most French people, but is now the focus of a fierce debate. The controversial weapon LBD40 is used, eg, in confrontations with yellow vests.

At demonstrations of that movement it often comes to violence. The police then shoot rubber bullets with LBD40 rifles. Dozens of people are said to have been injured. The French ombudsman has now asked for the LBD40 to be shelved, but that does not seem to happen for the time being.

What is the matter with the weapon? Are they really that dangerous, and why are they used at all? Five questions and answers.

What exactly are these rubber bullets?

The French police act at demonstrations by yellow vests with so-called LBD40 rifles. LBD stands for ‘Lanceur de Balles de Défense’: it shoots ‘balls’ for self-defense.

The fired rubber projectiles have a diameter of about four centimeters. …

Why are they deployed?

The weapons are meant for self-defense, when police officers are attacked. …

Why is there resistance in France now?

On social media, bloody photos of protesters who were seriously injured by rubber bullets were shared in recent weeks.

The government does not give any figures about it. French media therefore investigated and found that 40 to 70 demonstrators had been injured since the middle of November by using the LBD40. Around 14 people are even said to have lost eyes.

Critics say that the rubber bullets can seriously injure and mutilate people. The LBD40, they say, is inaccurate and often misused.

What does the government say?

The French government says that the rubber bullets, like tear gas, are meant for self-defense. …

Can the weapon not just be stopped?

The French Ombudsman, Jacques Toubon, asked for this. The weapon, he said, is too dangerous. But according to the government and police officers there are big risks to a ban.

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