French Security ‘Have Right’ to Use Weapons at Protests

A French riot policeman throws a canister of smoke during clashes with yellow vest protesters in Lyon, central France, on Jan. 12, 2019. A European human rights official said on Jan. 30, 2019, that she is “seriously concerned” about extensive injuries caused by rubber bullets and other French police methods to disperse yellow vest protesters. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

PARIS (AP) — France’s Council of State has ruled that security forces have a right to use controversial high-velocity rubber ball launchers for crowd control at weekly protests by the yellow vest movement.

Friday’s decision by the highest administrative body came a day before protesters were to take to the streets of for the 12th straight week.

Some unions and demonstrators had sought an urgent ruling on the use of such weapons following numerous injuries, some serious.

The Council noted the frequency of violence and property destruction at protests, some of which deviated from approved routes or weren’t declared in advance. It concluded that authorities’ use of the devices doesn’t constitute a “grave attack” on the freedom to demonstrate, or the right not to be exposed to inhuman or degrading treatment.

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