France, the Yellow Vests, Fake News and Media Sensationalism – Part 1

There is a conspiracy that there is a complete media blackout of the Yellow Vest protests in France. I really don’t know what to say about all of this, because the same lies that were said about Syria and Assad, is now being said about Macron and France – “Macron is gassing his own people!”, “Macron, the butcher of France!”

I live in France – please keep this in mind.

If a video which seems to be recent has been uploaded to the internet with titles like “The true…”, “Real footage…” , and has very poor quality audio and video, then it is most likely fake, or true, but taken out of its original context.

I do not support any political party. I do not vote, and will never vote, in any Government elections. Nor do I support what you call the Yellow Vest movement. I am however, wanting to correct a few things that is free from the manipulations of the media. False, and very misleading information about France is spreading like wildfire across all social media platforms. Shared thousands of times.

This is a viral video that has been circulating since the weekend.

It was taken in Place du Capitole, Toulouse, and the demonstrator who was filming the protest said “there is no doubt about it: the raining lachrymator gas is coming from the helicopter” during the clashes between the police forces and some of the protesters.

We will see below that this is not the case, but this video was quickly relayed by the accounts of the yellow vests: “in which democracy can we shoot protesters from a helicopter?”

The police were on the other side of the square, in front of the Grand Hotel de l’Opera and can be seen in this other video, taken almost at the same time by a journalist from France 3 located on the other side:

It was tear gas being launched from the police on the ground. The person filming moved the camera so it is not seen, and then blames the helicopter. Tear gases are usually shot in a bell (to avoid serious injury) using a pitcher from the ground, which can give the impression of falling from the sky.

In the video used as supposed evidence of shots from the helicopter, we see at 0’09 seconds and 0’20 seconds that the tear gas canisters come from the position of the forces:

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In this other video, we see it coming from the police south-east of Place du Capitole and targeting the north-east:

France uses the GLI-F4 and tear gas grenades for law enforcement operations. The GLI-F4 was first authorised on June 30 2011 in article 2011-795 of the Penal Code. Tear gas canisters and their launchers are allowed to be used by the police for the maintenance of public order Article 431-3 of the Criminal Code.

Is using tear gas by the police during this movement in violation of an international treaty? This is what many protesters have denounced on social networks, considering that tear gas and other riot control agents considered chemical weapons are banned in times of war by the 1993 convention. The Chemical Weapons Prohibition Treaty provides that “each State undertakes not to employ riot control agents as a means of warfare”.

The Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Convention on Biological Weapons and international human rights law provide that their use is exceptionally permitted “to serve as a weapon for the maintenance of public order, including domestic riot control”. Article I (5) of this Convention states that “each State Party undertakes not to use riot control agents as a means of warfare” and defines in Article II (7) such riot control agents as being “any chemical product that is not listed on a chart and that can quickly cause sensory irritation or physical disability in humans that expires shortly after exposure ceases”.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) notes that “riot control agents, such as tear gas, are considered chemical weapons if they are used as a method of warfare, however, OPCW also notes that “States may legitimately possess anti-riot agents and use them for law enforcement purposes, but States that are members of the Chemical Weapons Convention must declare the type of anti-riot agents they have.”

Article II (9.d) states that among “purposes not prohibited by this Convention” are “public order purposes, including domestic riot control purposes”. The police use only serves to disperse crowds.

Another image shared thousands of times to show the brutality and dictatorship of president Macron.

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Except he was not our president in March 2016 when this photo was originally taken.

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This was actually a 55-year-old man, and is daughter was screaming at the police to stop hitting him. You can see it is a man from another angle:

He was beaten for resisting arrest and was tried in immediate appearance on Monday for participating in a protest despite a summons dispersal, and for being in possession of a weapon. The demonstrators threw pavers and bolts at the police, and he participated in that. Source: 20 minutes.

I hear a lot of rumors about a European CRS who were invited to intervene, which is false.

mssi

You have only discovered that the French police are armed in 2019? Police armed with such rifles have already been seen at previous demonstrations because they put this in place after the November 13, 2015 terrorist attack.

Bernard Cazeneuve announced on February 29, 2016, that each crew would be equipped with a HK G36 in order to be able to retaliate against Kalashnikov firing. You can read the articles, and see a video, here, and here, of CRS in March 2018, and here.

There’s a difference between a handgun and a weapon of war. All CRS have been running HK-G36 or HK-UMP9 for nearly three years now. These weapons are part of the staffing of police officers of anti-crime brigades (BAC) and platoons of surveillance and intervention of the gendarmerie (PSIG) as part of the 2016 BAC-PSIG Plan.

Think for five seconds and you will understand why police are armed in places where there are hundreds of people. They are there in case of a terrorist attack to protect the population. They will never shoot us with live ammo.

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