France: G7 protesters must not be subject to violent policing and mass arrests
Ahead of this weekend’s G7 summit during which authorities are expected to unnecessarily scale up police and judicial measures, including the unprecedented deployment of judicial personnel, Amnesty International’s France Researcher, Marco Perolini said:
“As thousands of protesters prepare to take to the streets this weekend, the announced presence of more than 13,000 police, extensive restrictions on public assemblies and enhanced judicial measures to arrest and prosecute protesters, gives cause for concern.
As thousands of protesters prepare to take to the streets, the presence of more than 13,000 police, extensive restrictions on public assemblies and enhanced judicial measures to arrest and prosecute protesters, gives cause for concern
“The hasty erection of pre-fabricated cells in front of the court in Bayonne and the arrival of dozens of additional prosecutors and judges, are a signal of intent that could lead to indiscriminate mass arrests and fast-track prosecutions.
Police must avoid the sort of heavy-handed policing we have seen during recent demonstrations
“While the authorities have a duty to ensure public order, they also have an obligation to facilitate peaceful assemblies. They must avoid the sort of heavy-handed policing we have seen during recent demonstrations. They must not apply draconian laws to prosecute protesters who are exercising their right to demonstrate peacefully.”
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Amnesty International has learned that a migrant detention centre in Hendaye has been emptied to be used as a custody centre. It has 100 rooms for custody according to the Chair of Bayonne Bar association.
Pre-fabricated buildings have been set up for fast-track trials and dozens of prosecutors and judges have been brought in.
A protest is scheduled for 24 August in Hendaye (30km from Biarritz). Several peaceful acts of civil disobedience are planned on 25 August in a nearby area where the authorities announced that public assemblies will not be allowed. These protests will attract several groups including the Gilets Jaunes (“Yellow Vests”) and climate activists.
Rubber bullets and instant tear gas grenades must not be used to police these protests due to the hundreds of injuries these weapons have caused in the last nine months.