French police have come under scrutiny in recent weeks due to their aggressive tactics at anti-government protests. The interior ministry issued a 40-page policy to protect peaceful protesters while being strict against those who resort to violence. Nevertheless, there have been reports of police using excessive force against protesters, leading to hundreds of arrests and injuries over the past few weeks.
The wave of public unrest began in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular plan to raise the retirement age, as well as an environmental protest held by activists in western France. Law enforcement has been utilizing tactics such as preventive arrests to collect information on demonstrators and forceful crowd control methods.
As the situation in France has gained international attention, the United Nations issued a reminder for police to avoid excessive use of force. Even the EU’s human rights watchdog questioned the proportionality of their crackdown. Additionally, there have been reports of journalists, tourists and business owners getting caught up incidentally in the protests.
Despite the growing criticism, the French government has defended the police’s actions. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin justified the excessive force and stated that the state has the right to protect citizens and property. In addition, President Macron backed the efforts of the police and claimed that violence cannot be justified.
This situation has reignited the decades-old debates over how to handle protests and large gatherings. Across the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, and Italy, the police are trained on de-escalating situations by communicating with protesters. France is said to be relying too much on force and intimidation without the use of certain techniques.
Overall, the French police have had to toe the line between protecting citizens’ rights while maintaining public order in the face of heated protests. Ultimately, the delicate balance between protesters and police remains uncertain as the long term effects of the French government’s policies are yet to be seen.
Gérald Darmanin is the current Interior Minister of the Government of France who has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for his aggressive tactics at anti-government protests. Minister Darmanin has defended the use of force by the police to protect citizens and property. He has also vowed to punish officers for excessive use of force and for not following orders.
The Champions League is an annual football tournament, organised by Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). This event was held in France in 2021, where authorities had deployed police to prevent any civil unrest outside the event. However, the police were criticised for the use of tear gas, which was seen as excessive force.