France must respect and promote the right to peaceful assembly, say UN experts

ER Editor: This topic takes on all the more resonance given the Tuesday morning shooting of a 17 year old, Nahel M, at the wheel of his car. The update on this story is that the policeman who shot the boy through the open window of the car did not use his firearm in a legally justified manner and is being charged with homicide. See this RT report, Police use of firearm against teen unjustified – French prosecutor.

See this June 30 RT report — ‘Record’ number of arrests made during unrest in France – Le Figaro

Check the twitter link #emeutes (riots)

Here is the video assemblage of what happened to the young man:

Translation: What really happened at around 8.30am on Tuesday in Nanterre when a police officer shot a 17-year-old boy, Nahel, after he refused to comply? We take a look at what happened before, during and after a police action that was far from above board!

The article below reminds us that excessive, dreadful police violence was seen during the Yellow Vest protests, which began on November 17, 2018. It has become a feature of the French landscape. 

See this Daily Mail story from 2016, perfectly illustrating the point about French police —

Horrific moment woman is punched in the FACE and rammed against railings by an armed police officer as labour riots spread across France


France must respect and promote the right to peaceful assembly, say UN experts


June 15, 2023

GENEVA ( June 15, 2023 ) – Experts* of the United Nations have expressed concern over allegations of excessive use of force during recent protests against pension reform and mega-basin projects in France.

‘The lack of restraint in the use of force against members of civil society who peacefully claim their participation in decision-making processes concerning their future, access to natural resources, protection of human rights, dignity and equality would not only be undemocratic, but deeply worrying for the rule of law’, experts said.

‘We call on the authorities to undertake a comprehensive review of their policing strategies and practices to allow protesters to voice their concerns and facilitate a peaceful resolution to social conflicts. We are at the disposal of the French authorities to provide the necessary recommendations in the areas where shortcomings have been noted’, added the experts.

They reiterated their call ** to France to respect its international obligations in order to facilitate and protect peaceful demonstrations, as well as to promote freedom of association, in particular by taking the necessary measures to investigate the violence committed during these demonstrations and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Since the beginning of the year, thousands of people have mobilized in different French cities to denounce the pension reform proposed by the government, as well as water management policies in the face of the climate emergency.

Experts noted that protesters of all ages from various social movements, including union and environmental movements, have promoted and adopted peaceful methods, in addition to having clearly stated their claims upstream of the rallies.

Police reportedly dispersed the crowds using tear gas and de-concerting grenades, munitions that France is the only European country to use during’ law enforcement operations, experts said.

The crackdown by the police is said to have left dozens injured, including protesters, journalists, elected officials and passers-by. On various occasions, in the capital, the motorized brigade ‘Brav-M’ has reportedly threatened and hit demonstrators. In Sainte-Soline, police reportedly fired LBD 40 (a defense bullet launcher)  from moving quads, and relief workers were reportedly prohibited from intervening to rescue a seriously injured person. People were reportedly arbitrarily arrested in several cities.

‘We are aware that isolated acts of violence committed by certain demonstrators have injured members of the police and damaged public property. However, both the number of injured recorded and the severity of the violence reported are alarming’, continued the experts.

Concerns have also come to them regarding the use of criminalizing rhetoric by human rights and environmentalists by the government. Experts are concerned about a trend towards stigma and criminalization of people and civil society organizations working for the defense of human rights and the environment, which seems to be increasing and justifying excessive, repeated and amplified use of force against them.

‘The right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental right which forms the very basis of participatory governance systems based on democracy, human rights, the rule of law and pluralism’, recalled the experts.

‘Finally, we remind France that any policing strategy must respect the principles of necessity and proportionality for the sole purpose of facilitating peaceful meetings and protecting the fundamental rights of those who participate, including their right to life, to their physical and psychological integrity‘, experts said.


** Experts had already expressed similar concerns to the French government in 2019, during the rallies of the ‘yellow vests’.

*Experts: Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association ; Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, Special Rapporteur on human rights to drinking water and sanitation ; David R. Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment ; Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the right to food ; Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders ; Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, and Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the protection of environmentalists within the framework of the Aarhus Convention.

Source :



Featured image, woman being punched:


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