A report on France protests in response to the...
The death of Nahal M. on 27 June, when shot by French police in a traffic stop, sparked widespread protests against institutionalized racism and violence, to an extent where public transport across the country came to standing still, and French president Emanuel Macron postponed his state visit to Germany. According to news reports after dispatching around 40 thousand police officers to crackdown the protests, at least 875 youths were arrested in large cities across the country, and according to the French Interior Minister their average age was seventeen. According to eyewitness reports with the backing of light armored vehicles and tear gas the police clashed with the demonstrators. According to Middle East Eye the funeral of Nahal M. took place on 1 July and the fifth day of the protests and I view of the tense atmosphere a large crowd wearing yellow vests had gathered in the cemetery. Also a few days after the protests a number of police unions released a statement which read: “Today police officers are at the front line because we are at war,” the alliance Police Nationale and UNSP Police unions said in the joint statement. “Faced with these savage hordes, it’s no longer enough to call for calm, it must be imposed.” The unions added: “Now is not the time for industrial action but for fighting against these ‘vermin’.” This statement was released while a number of politicians called it enciting.
In a statement on 30 June 2023, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that France should seriously investigate racism and history of racial discrimination within the police and application of the law. Following expressing concern with regards to the events, the statement stressed on the launching of investigation surrounding murder, stressed on the importance of peaceful assemblies, called on the authorities to assure the use of force by the police against violent elements and continued respect to articles of the law, no discrimination, accountability and need to immediately investigate any claims of the use of disproportionate force. In a press release a number of UN special rapporteurs highlighted restrictions placed on the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assemblies in the French protests and called on the French government to remain committed to its international law obligations. The special rapporteurs expressed concern over the disproportionate use of force against the protesters. According to them the lack of restrictions on te use of force against the civil society, the inadequacy of support for human rights and lack of dignity and equality will not only be against democracy but is deeply concerning for the protection and preservation of the rule of law.