According to the Taranis News agency, the police used, for the first time in mainland France, the tear gas powder projected from an armored vehicle.
The information was confirmed by the Sirpa Gendarmerie to the leftist daily Libération on Sunday, March 17: “A VB [armored vehicle] has released tear gas to disperse against a hostile and increasingly violent crowd at the sector of the Arc de Triomphe”, the information service said in a statement. It has been corroborated by the police prefecture, which also confirmed the use of a “powder gas” , “in small quantities” . The use of the powdered gas is the first for metropolitan France.
The “secret weapon” was denounced by Le Parisien and Marianne last December. According to the Paris daily, this “device of last resort” can cover four hectares with “a highly concentrated tear gas, the equivalent of 200 grenades at a time”.
In December, a police chief had explained that this system would be used only “if a large crowd forced their way through the perimeter fences” and “as a last resort in order to stop them”.
Colonel Carminache of the police prefecture also told Marianne last December: “They are designed to protect the vehicle if it were attacked by attackers. If they were to be operated in Paris, it would only be after customary usage,” he said.
According to the newspaper, this device could only be used on “express authorization” of the police prefect Michel Delpuech.
Meanwhile, images filmed during looting on the Champs-Elysees showed a policeman stealing soccer jerseys and stuffing them into his backpack.
The shop of the soccer club Paris Saint-Germain was looted, like many other shops, on Saturday, March 16 on the Champs-Elysées during Act XVIII of the Yellow Vests. The looters were filmed by the journalist of Brut, Rémy Buisine, reported Franceinfo .
A member of the police force was caught on camera folding away soccer jerseys in a black backpack. The journalist commenting on the scene was violently molested by another police officer who allegedly hit him with a truncheon.
On Twitter, many netizens accused the police of stealing goods and fingered the colleague for covering the thief by hitting the journalist. But according to the CGT-Police Ile-de-France contacted by Franceinfo, it is simply a classic procedure during the “collection of evidence”.
However, the Paris police prefecture says it has seized the IGPN [General Inspectorate of the National Police] to investigate this case.
According to General Secretary CGT-Police Ile-de-France Axel Ronde, these sports items had been looted before by a man who was later arrested. The police officer was only collecting evidence of the looting. “The situation there was chaotic. At any moment it could degenerate. So in these cases, we pick up the objects so we can prove the offense,” the unionist claimed.
🇨🇵 [FLASH] – Un #CRS a été filmé par @RemyBuisine (#Brut), en train de remplir son sac de t-shirt du #PSG, juste à côté de la boutique PSG. Le journaliste a été violemment pris à parti par un de ses collègues, celui-ci à tenter de prendre son téléphone. #Acte18 #GiletsJaunes pic.twitter.com/nUwVvbzTKd
— La Plume Libre (@LPLdirect) March 16, 2019