French police massively injures protesters

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.

French government against free speech

This 21 December 2018 video says about itself:

What started as a protest against fuel taxes, blew up into a full-scale uprising in France. Hundreds of thousands of Yellow Vests have been taking to the streets, blocking roads and clashing with police across the country.

But is the movement really organic or is it controlled by political interests?

redfish went to the battleground in France to speak to the Yellow Vests who made Macron flinch.


By Alex Lantier in France:

French Prime Minister proposes government registry of demonstrators

8 January 2019

Following the large turnout throughout France for the eighth week of “yellow vest” (Gilets jaunes) protests this past Saturday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on French television Monday night the imposition of an extraordinary law to suppress the demonstrations. Taking up measures initially put forward by the neo-fascists, he proposed that demonstrators be placed on government subversive lists and subjected to financial sanctions.

Philippe admitted that the “yellow vest” protests express social anger shared by workers throughout France, and indeed across Europe. “From the beginning, in the statements of the ‘yellow vests’, there were demands for more purchasing power, speaking for French people who felt forgotten and ignored”, he declared.

But despite this admission, Philippe stressed that his government would not change its widely hated policy, but rather would seek to suppress the movement by putting in place additional obstacles to the right to demonstrate and strengthening the vast police apparatus for use against the population.

He announced that protesters would be registered on a list in order to ban them from demonstrating, using a method similar to the “hooligan card”, which permits police to prevent certain individuals from entering football stadiums. In addition, he would impose penalties against demonstrations that have not been registered with the prefecture. “The government is in favor of changing our law and punishing those who do not respect this reporting [registration] obligation”, he declared.

Philippe also proposed measures to allow the police to impose heavy sentences on protesters. “For those who come in hoods (cagoulé), today it is a misdeed; tomorrow it must be a crime. It must be the thugs who pay and not the taxpayers”, he said. He added: “We cannot accept that some people take advantage of these demonstrations to riot, to break and burn things. These people will never have the last word in our country.”

The prime minister announced a mass mobilization of the police, comparable to that in early December 2018, which closed off the center of Paris. He stated: “Specialized equipment used by the police, such as armored vehicles and water cannons, proved effective. We must therefore seriously consider using these again and increasing their operational capabilities.” He pledged to mobilize 85,000 police, CRS police reserves, paramilitary gendarmes and other forces next weekend, especially in Paris.

This makes clear the antidemocratic orientation of President Macron and the European Union, which backs him. In the face of workers’ support for the “yellow vests” and the widespread rejection of European-wide austerity policies, Macron wants to impose the diktat of the banks by force. The attempts by Philippe and Macron to pose as defenders of democracy in order to justify the construction of a police state that tramples on workers’ opposition to austerity and war are nothing but hypocritical lies.

The press has poured out a torrent of slander against the “yellow vests,” labelling them as fascists. It is Macron, however, who is carrying out a far-right policy. Philippe’s proposals repeat the demands that Alliance, the police union close to the neo-fascists, called for following Saturday’s demonstration. These measures would seek to stifle social anger by threatening protesters with preventive arrest and exorbitant fines.

On Sunday, the secretary general of Alliance, Frédéric Lagache, proposed that protesters be registered “on the model of stadium bans” (the “Hooligan card”). He called for the wearing of a hood in demonstrations to be punished as a crime, and for “harsher penalties” to be imposed on demonstrators.

While proposing a significant increase in repressive measures, the alternate

‘moderate’, originally Roman Catholic

police union CFDT opposed some of the proposals put forward by the neo-fascist Alliance. It criticized the proposal to register demonstrators as “useless and counterproductive.” The CFDT statement declared: “An administrative file alone will be useless, except to identify individuals who might be dangerous during demonstrations, but would lack any coercive power before an action is carried out.”

Indeed, the creation of a registry only opens the door to preventive arrests of a fundamentally illegal character of people who have displeased the police for one or another reason, prior to a demonstration in which they could not even participate.

Despite the very close links between the CFDT and the government, Philippe and Macron have taken up the proposals of the neo-fascist Alliance union.

This proves the correctness of the analysis made by the Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES) when Macron was elected president in 2017. The PES stated that the decisive question was to prepare a workers’ movement against both candidates—Macron and the neo-fascist Marine Le Pen—because Macron was not a more democratic alternative.

The central question raised by the radicalization of workers in the “yellow vest” movement is the need to mobilize workers as widely as possible against attempts to establish police states throughout Europe.

Macron’s declaration last November that it is legitimate to honor the military career of Marshal Philippe Pétain, the fascist dictator who collaborated with the Nazi occupation, made clear that he is seeking to erect an authoritarian regime, in the guise of the “defense of the Republic.”

Increasingly reactionary and provocative police measures are multiplying across France since the eruption of the “yellow vest” movement.

At the beginning of this year, the Somme police department in northern France adopted a decree forbidding the use or transport of respiratory protection equipment. This measure—which immediately illegalized work by firefighters, doctors, nurses and law enforcement itself—was intended to permit police to stop and question protesters with gas masks and to confiscate their protective equipment.

Christophe Dettinger, the former boxer who struck gendarmes during a police charge against the “yellow vests” on Saturday, went to the police yesterday accompanied by his lawyer. He had been the subject of a hysterical campaign in the media and of a manhunt by police, who raided his home.

In a video posted online before his surrender, Dettinger explained his actions: “I wanted to advance towards the CRS when I was gassed… At a certain point, my anger mounted, and yes, I reacted badly. Yes, I reacted badly, but I defended myself, and that’s all… French people, “yellow vests”, I am wholeheartedly with you. We must continue peacefully, but please continue the fight. “

Now the state is threatening him with five years in prison and a €75,000 fine, aimed at making it illegal for demonstrators to defend themselves against police brutality.

Dettinger’s former coach, Jacky Trompesauce, commented: “Christophe is a top athlete. He is a respectful man, he is not a thug…. He could not stand to see the gendarmes go after those who are weaker than them. I think I see pictures of women being teargassed, perhaps his own wife. He has three children. He is not wearing a hood, he has only his bare hands. He is not a brawler.”

French government attacks free speech

This 3 January 2019 video from the USA is called Nader: What America Can Learn From Yellow Vests pt. 2.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

France wants to punish demonstrating unannouncedly more harshly

The French government wants to punish participants in unannounced demonstrations more severely. Prime Minister Philippe said that in a reaction to the increase of the yellow jackets protests last weekend. …

“The government wants to modernize the law”, Philippe said on TF1 TV. Participating in a demonstration, not notified to authorities, and wearing a balaclava at demonstrations will also become punishable.

Macron’s police arrests French Yellow Vests spokesperson

By Ben Cowles:

Thursday, January 3, 2019

French riot cops arrest prominent yellow jackets member

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing France Insoumise, branded Eric Drouet’s arrest as ‘an abuse of power’

FRENCH riot police arrested a prominent member of the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) movement in Paris on suspicion of organising an unofficial protest last night.

Eric Drouet was detained while en route to a candlelit vigil along the Champs-Elysees paying tribute to those wounded during the protests, which started almost two month ago.

Footage of last night’s arrest posted online shows riot police leading Mr Drouet through a throng of officers lined up between him and his supporters.

Above the sounds of police sirens, his supporters can be heard shouting: “Dictatorship” as he is manhandled into the back of a patrol car.

Former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who leads the left-wing France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, branded the arrest “an abuse of power.”

Messages posted on Mr Mélenchon’s official Twitter page, which he does not write in person, called for an end to the persecution of the protesters.

“Enough violence, convictions and arrests against [the gilets jaunes],” one message reads.

“Release Eric Drouet. Leave the voices of the people alone.”

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire defended the arrest, saying: “It’s called respecting the rule of law.

“It’s normal that when you break the laws of the republic, you face the consequences.”

Mr Drouet, who works as a lorry driver, has become something of a spokesman for the decentralised, anti-government yellow jackets movement both online and on television.

He has been credited with suggesting that lorry drivers angry at French President Emmanuel Macron’s fuel-price levy should block roads to attract the government’s attention.

Mr Drouet also faces trial in June for a previous arrest in which he was charged with “carrying a prohibited category D weapon.”

He says the December 22 arrest was politically motivated and his lawyer maintains that the “weapon” police accuse him of carrying was a piece of wood in his bag.

Benjamin Cauchy, another figurehead of the protest movement, said the government was pouring oil on the fire.

“Unfortunately, I have the impression that the government wants to radicalise the movement. They have just put a coin in the jukebox and the song ‘yellow jackets’ will continue to play, that’s for sure.”

By Anthony Torres in France:

French police arrest “yellow vest” spokesman Eric Drouet

4 January 2019

Wednesday night, as he went to Paris’s Concord Square to light candles to commemorate “yellow vest” protesters who have died during the movement, police arrested Eric Drouet. The pretext for this arrest, which tramples underfoot the constitutionally protected right to protest, was that this gathering had not been declared previously at the police prefecture. Drouet had called for a gathering on Concord Square in a Facebook video.

Surrounded by sympathizers, Drouet was first trapped and then grabbed by the police and finally carted off amid cries of “Shame!”, “Dictatorship!” and “Bastards!” from the crowd. He was placed in preventive detention, while other protesters were arrested for identity checks.

Drouet’s lawyer Khéops Lara denounced “a completely unjustified and arbitrary arrest,” which leaves Drouet facing up to six months in jail and a €7,500 fine. Lara explained: “His ‘crime’ was to place candles (…) on Concord Square in Paris to commemorate the fallen ‘yellow vests’ who died from various causes during protests and blockades of highway intersections. Then he wanted to come together with a few friends and loved ones in a private area, a restaurant, to discuss and share viewpoints.”

The Paris prosecutor’s office alleges that Drouet organized “a demonstration without prior notification.” Junior Minister Olivier Dussopt told BFMTV: “When you don’t play by the rules, it’s normal to pay the price.”

These accusations are absurd and point to the malignant growth of the police state in France. Drouet was not organizing a mass demonstration, which are often declared in police prefectures, but a meeting of a few individuals—which the state now is asserting it can ban.

Lara demanded an end to Drouet’s preventive detention, which the prosecutor’s office refused, and added: “With the propaganda campaign against Eric Drouet vomited up by the police, the media and the politicians, the men and women of France’s lower classes are being insulted.”

The ruling class is indeed launching a signal: it intends to persecute all acts of genuine political opposition, even those protected by law, with its police machine. Faced with rising social anger among workers in France and internationally … the ruling class is reacting with repression. Beyond hordes of riot police and armored vehicles, it is using the pseudo-judicial lynching of prominent opposition figures.

Drouet has served as a spokesman for sections of the “yellow vest” movement opposed to French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to strangle the movement with sterile offers of talks. With Priscilla Ludosky, Drouet met Ecology Minister François de Rugy on November 28 to represent the “yellow vests” in talks with the government. Drouet brought down on him the hatred of the government and the media by turning down de Rugy’s offer, saying it did not satisfy the demands of the “yellow vests.”

Since then, Drouet has been the target of escalating police repression that is aimed ultimately at crushing and sidelining all members of the movement who emerge as obstacles to the state’s attempts to break up and demoralize the protests with offers of fruitless talks.

Drouet’s latest arrest provoked broad anger among the “yellow vests.” Already they have organized crowd-funding campaigns to finance Drouet’s legal expenses in the various cases concocted against him by the security forces.

In early December, as the growing movement faced ferocious repression of the Saturday protests, Drouet was placed in preventive detention and his home was targeted for a police search. He was accused of “provocation of the commission of a crime or misdemeanor” and “organizing an illicit protest.” The sole basis for these charges was that he had declared, during an interview with journalists on BFMTV, that he would like to go into the Elysée presidential palace.

On December 8, Drouet was arrested during the fourth weekend of protests in Paris, supposedly for “bearing a banned weapon of category D,” that is, a piece of wood, according to press reports, and for “participation in a grouping formed to commit violence or damages.” Drouet is to be tried for these charges on June 5.

This relentless targeting of Drouet underscores yet again that Macron and the European Union have no intention of responding to the demands of the “yellow vests” or of workers in struggle across Europe. The Macron government, isolated and hated by masses of workers, is terrified by the “yellow vest” movement. Yet in response, it is proposing only to step up the policies of austerity and militarism that intensify social inequality and provoked the opposition of the “yellow vests.”

In his New Year’s wishes on December 31, Macron insisted he would continue his social cuts targeting pensions, unemployment insurance and public sector wage levels. He also denounced the criticisms of his presidency formulated by the “yellow vests,” lecturing the French people: “Dignity, my dear fellow citizens, is also respecting everyone. And I must say, I have seen unimaginable things in recent times and heard the unacceptable.”

This is the dictatorial language of a banker-president who claimed at the time of his election that France lacks a king, and who now seems to want to apply for that position, despite the opposition of an overwhelming majority of the French population to his policies.

The task of defeating the persecution of Drouet falls to the working class. More than 70 percent of French people support the “yellow vests,” who have evoked broad sympathy from workers around the world.

In a series of actions this past week, the government of French President Emmanuel Macron has intensified police-state repression aimed at crushing “yellow vest” protests against social inequality. On Tuesday, January 8, 28-year-old protester Hedi Martin was sentenced to six months’ jail without parole at a correctional tribunal in the southern town of Narbonne. His sole “crime” was to have published a Facebook post on January 2 that called for a “yellow vest” blockade of the petrol refinery at Port-la-Nouvelle. Police arrested him in the early hours of January 3, shortly after he published the post: here.

German Ford workers: “The yellow vests are going about it the right way”: here.