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Policeman hits his superior at Yellow Vest demo in Toulouse

According to preliminary elements of the investigation into an altercation between policemen in Toulouse, "the peacekeeper was not happy with an instruction received by the major".

Published: February 26, 2019, 1:21 pm

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    The precise motive of the dispute between two representatives of the police on Saturday in Toulouse, remains unknown, but, according to preliminary information, “the guardian of peace was not happy with an instruction received by the major,” and an administrative investigation was initiated by the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN), French daily Le Parisien reported.

    As part of Act VX by the Yellow Vests in Toulouse, a policeman, filmed by a protester, went out of the line to give his superior a fierce headbutt on his helmet. A Yellow Vest protester then managed to separate the two fighting individuals.

    It was “8:30 pm and the two men had already had a discussion before,” the author of the video told 20 Minutes. She indicated that this outburst was “after she [had] talked a lot with the police”. She added: “Some smiled at us, others encouraged us.”

    A police source confirmed the incident on Monday, telling 20 Minutes that “an altercation between a subordinate and his superior” had been noticed in Toulouse on Saturday, February 23 and an internal investigation had been opened “to determine the circumstances”.

    The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, meanwhile recalled that the “primary task (of the police) is to protect citizens and their human rights”.

    After three months of mobilization by the Yellow Vests, and more than 2 000 wounded among the demonstrators, the Council of Europe called on France, this Tuesday, to “suspend the use of the LBD (lflashballs) in the framework of law enforcement operations” to “better respect human rights”.

    In the “expectation of (a) revision” of the “doctrine of the use of intermediate strength weapons”, the French authorities should “suspend the use of the LBD in the context of law enforcement operations”, Mijatovic said in a memorandum issued on Tuesday.

    Mijatovic also urged “French authorities to better respect the human rights” of the Yellow Vests. While the Commissioner “strongly condemns the violence committed against the members of the police” and “deplores the significant number of wounded in their ranks”, she also said that their “primary task (…) is to protect the citizens and their human rights “.

    “The number and severity of injuries” inflicted on protesters “question the compatibility of the methods used in law enforcement operations with respect for these rights,” said Mijatovic. Since 4 February, some 2 060 people have been injured among the demonstrators, including 69 “absolute emergencies”.

    Only 1 325 people were injured on the side of the security forces according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, the Commissioner underlined in her memorandum.

    The commissioner also invited the authorities not to bring “excessive restrictions on the freedom of peaceful assembly” through a controversial “anti-riot” bill passed in early February by the National Assembly .

    The text is expected to return to the Senate on March 12 for a second reading , with the Macron administration seeking a swift final adoption in the context of the Yellow Vest crisis.

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