French President Emmanuel Macron has rejected United Nations criticism of the use of “flashball” ammunition, dismissing victims as people who smash windows and attack police.
The use of flashball weapons, known in France Lanceur de balle de défense (LBD), has been sharply criticised by many in the international community due to a large number of serious injuries they have caused to Yellow Vest protesters, Le Figaro reports.
Speaking on Wednesday, President Macron dismissed the complaints saying, “As such, the best way to avoid these uses and these cases is to avoid having people who consider that a Saturday afternoon is for smashing windows, institutions, or attacking the police force.”
“I say it very simply, I will not leave the police without any means to ensure public order, or to defend against people who arrive today,” he added.
Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatovic has been a firm critic of the use of LBD weaponry and has called on the French to review the use of them.
Doctors Say Number of Serious Injuries Inflicted on Yellow Vests Unprecedented https://t.co/pkM4WI3sNF
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French police replied to the complaints by Mijatovic saying, “Police operating conditions have been particularly difficult. These protests have been characterised by serious violence committed by some protesters against police forces, journalists, and others.”
Doctors within France have also sounded the alarm regarding the high number of serious injuries to Yellow Vests, which have included several individuals losing eyes due to the use of the LBD weapons.
In one case, a protester in Paris lost his hand after it was ripped off by a flashball round in early February.
Emergency physician Dr Christophe Prudhomme commented on the level of violence saying, “I have been working in this sector since the 1980s and this is the first time I have seen so many serious injuries during a social movement.”