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Act XXIII: Journalists targeted by police in Paris

Journalists covering the Yellow Vest demonstration have reported that some of their colleagues have been arrested by the police. Others have been victims of police violence.

Published: April 21, 2019, 8:17 am

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    Several journalists were arrested by police on Saturday, April 20 during Act XXIII of the Yellow Vests, according to Le Parisien.

    According to the Paris daily, several independent journalists also reported police violence during tense stand-offs. On Twitter, several independent professionals maintain that some of their colleagues were arrested despite wearing their press armbands, a white helmet or carrying their professional equipment.

    The founder of independent media Taranis, Gaspard Glanz was be among those arrested by the police, as shown in a video posted on Twitter. On the images, he is handcuffed by police before being taken with them.

    A Le Figaro journalist was also handcuffed at the Place de la République, a colleague said. The colleague explained that “the non-compliant arrests have multiplied and my colleague from Le Figaro was attacked by a member of the police. I will broadcast the images this evening”.

    Earlier in the day, freelance journalist Alexis Kraland was reportedly arrested at the Gare du Nord while, according to a colleague, he had clearly indicated his profession. He adds that several colleagues tried to talk to the police before being ordered to leave so as not to be arrested .

    Other professionals denounced the violence, one of them claiming to have been shot at by a flashball while he was displaying a “press identity”.

    Another colleague said that a “journalist received a shot on the left hand, according to several witnesses. She was quickly taken to the Street Medics”. On a video posted on Twitter, a person wearing a white helmet actually seems to need urgent help and is put on the side by protesters.

    The SNJ, the top union of journalists, quickly reacted on the social network, calling on Christophe Castaner to provide explanations. “What justifies calling reporters, except to prevent them from working? Do not flout the rule of law Christophe Castaner! Prefecture of police, respect the freedom to inform!”

    In yet further worrying development, hospitals in Paris are listing the injured that participated in the Yellow Vest rallies. In a statement, the Assistance Publique-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP) confirmed that the file was triggered by the Regional Health Authority “in the context of demonstrations of Yellow Vests”.

    But the Assistance Publique-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP) rejected on Saturday, April 20, the accusations of  listing certain patients after a complaint against X was filed by a wounded.

    The injured person maintained that illegal data was being kept at the hospital where he had been treated. According to Le Canard Enchaîné, there is a list being kept by hospitals in Paris of people injured during demonstrations. This file, named SI-VIC, was put in place after the attacks of 2015 to facilitate the identification of victims of attacks.

    As reported by Le Parisien, the AP-HP explained in a statement entitled “development on an alleged patient registration”, that the use of the file was triggered at the request of the Authority Regional Health “in the context of the Yellow Vest events”.

    According to the statement, the latter is used “in case of exceptional health situations” or in a “major event likely to lead to a significant number of victims”.

    “A tool for health regulation and information, SI-VIC played its role in a period when any error in the care of patients would have been a factor in reinforcing violence,” the statement added. “In respect of medical confidentiality, it does not contain […] any data on the nature of the injuries taken care of “, it added.

    On February 9, Sébastien Maillet, a 30-year-old Yellow Vest, saw his hand destroyed by a GLI-F4 grenade during the movement’s Act XIII. Treated in a Parisian hospital, he lodged a complaint against X for “unlawful collection of personal data” and “breach of professional secrecy”, reported Europe 1.

    Maillet had his hand amputated after the incident and he believes that the SI-VIC file has been diverted from its original function, with the aim of “creating a list of activists”. According to him, his name has “certainly” been recorded in this file without his agreement.

    Thus, hospital staff allegedly violated “professional secrecy” by revealing the names of activists. “Political events like the ‘Yellow Vest’ movement reveal that administrators, senior officials, can behave like thugs by breaking the law and discriminating against politicians, and even more odious, even in public hospitals on wounded, some of whom are severely mutilated “, Arié Alimi, his lawyer said.

    According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, 27 900 people were mobilized in France, including 9 000 in the capital.

    Paris was the epicenter of the mobilization theis weekend.

    According to Le Parisien, several thousand people had left Bercy around 12:30 to go to the Place de la République. According to the latest figures of the prefecture, the police had carried out 189 arrests at 16:30, and 17 576 preventive controls, while some 110 people were taken into custody.

    The capital was again at the heart of the mobilization with four planned parades, but only two of them were allowed, including one from St. Denis Basilica. The other two, banned by the prefecture, included a departure from Bercy to join the Halles or Place de l’Etoile.

    The police mobilization was even higher with 60 000 police officers deployed throughout France and 5 000 members of the police, police and gendarmes, present in Paris.

    According to Franceinfo, the situation was tense in the early afternoon in the Bastille sector: a Franprix store was looted and street furniture was burned. Emmanuel Macron received the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner in the early afternoon for a “situation update” on the day of mobilization.

    Six metro lines were interrupted all day, including line 1 – the busiest – between La Défense and Chatelet. Stations were closed on several lines, particularly in the Champs-Elysées, Opéra and Louvre.

    The prefecture of police prohibited cars and two-wheelers to enter into several perimeters, in particular around the cathedral Notre-Dame, the palace of the Elysée and the Ministry of the Interior. At Place de la République the police used a water cannon in the afternoon. Demonstrators clashed with police at the Faubourg du Temple station while tensions had already occurred between the Bastille and Republic.

    According to Le Parisien, the mobilization of Yellow Vests was calm in Bordeaux, where 1 500 people gathered in the streets. In Toulouse, thousands of people gathered in the early afternoon and a demonstration took place Place Bellecour in Lyon.

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