French PM slams the violence of the May Day protests as “unacceptable” and calls them “a moment for responsible mobilization and commitment.”
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) has condemned France for its increased police brutality amid widespread Labour Day demonstrations across the nation.
Sweden’s representative told the UNHCR in Geneva on Monday that France must “take measures to, in a transparent manner, address allegations regarding excessive use of force by police and gendarmerie against protesters during demonstrations.”
Aside from the violence ongoing amid the recent protests, rights groups have highlighted the heightened violence during the “gilets jaunes” yellow vests protests in 2018 and the Champions League finals in 2018.
Russia’s representative Kristina Sukacheva described “the harsh and sometimes violent measures aimed at dispersing peaceful citizens” as a wake-up call for France, which was also criticized for religious intolerance, attacks against migrants, and racial injustice by many countries at the UN Council during France’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR is conducted every 4 years by all 193 member nations.
The US representative, Kelly Billingsley, claimed that the US wanted France to “expand efforts to counter crimes and threats of violence motivated by religious hatred such as antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate, including cases of harassment, vandalism, and assault.”
On the other hand, China called on France to “stop measures that violate rights of migrants” while Japan and Brazil underlined the need to stop “racial profiling by security forces.”
A judicial advisor with the French Interior Ministry, Sabrine Balim, told the UN Council that France “condemns any form of racial profiling” and police force was “strictly supervised, controlled, and in the case of erroneous use, sanctioned.”
In a statement, French PM Elisabeth Borne on Monday called the violence “unacceptable”, adding that “in many cities in France, this May Day was a moment for responsible mobilization and commitment. The scenes of violence on the sidelines of the demonstrations are all the more unacceptable.”
The total cost of damage in Paris due to protests over the pension reforms since January has amounted to almost 1.6 million euros, Vice Mayor of Paris Emmanuel Gregoire told French media a few days ago.
“The 12 demonstrations against pension reform have cost the city budget 1.6 million euros,” Gregoire said, adding that this amount only covers the damage to urban facilities and does not include expenses to repair private property.