The Yellow Vests will no longer inform officials about their Paris rallies, citing severe injuries sustained by dozens of French protesters in clashes with police. The movement says it won’t be “complicit in government violence.”
In a statement tweeted by prominent Yellow Vest Jerome Rodrigues, who himself had an eye injured by a riot control grenade, the rallies’ organizers say they don’t want to have to carry the “moral responsibility” and be “complicit in sending Yellow Vests to be mutilated by the government.”
In it, the Yellow Vests also complain that their concerns are not being heard by the police which the “Macronian dictatorship” deploys against them. Despite having repeatedly informed the police about rallies beforehand and seeking guarantees on the safety of demonstrators, they are still being targeted by dangerous “less-lethal” weapons.
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The French government is not trying to compromise, instead it’s encroaching on “the most basic liberties: the liberty to move, the liberty to demonstrate, the liberty of expression,” the statement says.
The statement accuses the police of “abusive use” of the LBD-40 ‘Flash-Ball’ launchers and GLI-F4 tear gas grenades, which has already resulted in over a hundred injuries among the Yellow Vests – including at least 20 lost eyes.
The LBD-40 has recently featured on the protesters’ placards as they rallied against police brutality. Similar weapons are prohibited in riot control in most European countries, but the French police continue to employ them, with officials defending their use – though they admit the ‘Flash-Balls’ should be only used as a last resort and only aimed at the torso and limbs.
Last Saturday’s Paris rally was dedicated to victims of police brutality, with protesters carrying the pictures of those injured over months of clashes. Police, again, used tear gas and wielded ‘Flash-Balls’ to disperse the demonstration.
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