After five weeks of mobilizing the Yellow Vests, the human rights NGO reported numerous cases of “excessive use of force” by the police. It is also concerned about the working conditions of journalists.
“We have been able to identify many cases of excessive use of force by police officers,” Amnesty International reported in an investigation published on its website on 17 December. According to the human rights NGO, the police used flashball, desemberment grenades and tear gas “against mostly peaceful demonstrators”.
According to official figures cited by Amnesty, 1,407 demonstrators have been injured, including 46 seriously, since the start of the mobilization on 17 November. The organization also notes that 717 police officers, gendarmes and firefighters have suffered violence.
It points out that the French authorities have condemned the acts of violence committed by demonstrators, but “have not expressed concern about the excessive use of force by police officers, which must be the subject of an independent, impartial and effective investigation”.
In addition to the yellow vests themselves, Amnesty International reports that “many” journalists have been injured while covering demonstrations in recent weeks. “Some claimed to have been deliberately targeted,” the NGO reports, citing, among other examples, a video showing a journalist wearing a press helmet, “shot in the back with a disengagement grenade as he walked away from the police cordon. Another journalist told Amnesty anonymously that he and his colleagues had been “repeatedly targeted by flashball fire from the police”.
Since the beginning of the mobilisation of the Yellow Vests, journalists have reported that they have been victims of certain actions by the police, testifying in particular to the seizure of their professional equipment.