Hundreds of canisters rained down on thousands of people who were celebrating the Algeria national football team progressing towards the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. Among them were families with toddlers in pushchairs
Even in a city as traditionally turbulent as Paris (https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/Paris), recent scenes of police violence have been exceptionally shocking. Victims over the past few weeks have ranged from journalists and students to environmentalists and asylum seekers.
No matter what their background, or political persuasion, all have been viewed as legitimate targets for heavily armed paramilitaries trained to deal with any perceived threat to order with extreme brutality. These specialist riot control officers – and there are thousands of them – consider summer as a time when every type of undesirable takes to the streets, and they see nothing wrong with imposing their authority as harshly as possible.
The sheer horror of the situation was made abundantly clear on the Champs Élysées last week where – as usual – the catalyst for much social disorder was France’s forces of law and order using chemical weapons on their own citizens.
Videos shot on the most famous avenue in the country show young children struggling to get away from clouds of fumes created by teargas (https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/teargas) that is banned in warzones. Astonishing as it may sound, French police (https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/french-police) are allowed to use substances designed to burn eyes, mouths and lungs against ordinary civilians, but, because of international treaties, soldiers up against genuine enemies are not.
The International Committee of the Red Cross first made battlefield chemical and biological weapons illegal after French forces launched 22mm grenades full of lachrymator ethyl bromoacetate at the Germans during the First World War, but failed to extend this prohibition to domestic forces.
Hundreds of canisters rained down on thousands of men, women and children who were celebrating the Algeria national football team progressing towards the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, and indeed after winning it on Friday night. Among them were families with toddlers in pushchairs.
Others included the kind of young men of north African appearance whom the French police, and especially those in Paris, tend to despise. There have been countless confrontations over recent decades, most of them relating to Algeria’s war of independence from France, which ended in victory in 1962. Domestic atrocities linked to the conflict involved Algerian protesters (https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/protesters) being tortured, beaten to death and drowned in the River Seine by city police.
Post-colonial tensions between a vast Algerian diaspora living in cities such as Paris and Marseille have by no means disappeared, and there is no doubt that sports victories can bring out a thuggish tendency, just as happens when teams such as France or Paris Saint-Germain win key games.
None of this justifies pouring gas into overwhelmingly peaceful crowds of innocent people, however. I heard the screams of those caught in the worst melees, including the crying boys and girls who were vomiting and shaking with fear as the fumes spread. It was a balmy evening, and there was next to no hiding place on the Champs-Elysees itself.
As the number of gas projectiles increased, many of the teenage fans ended up in side streets, where looting and vandalism took place. This is a classic pattern I have recorded while covering numerous riots in Paris, not least of all those involving the gilets jaunes (https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/gilets-jaunes) anti-government movement who have caused millions of euros worth of damage in the capital alone. Again, the trouble is absolutely inexcusable, but the contribution of the gas towards already highly fraught situations is undeniable.
Despite all this, it was only the English language media that reported on the gassing of children. French media was instead full of erroneous claims. No, an Algerian football fan was categorically not responsible (http://sport.le360.ma/football/un-marocain-lorigine-de-laccident-mortel-de-montpellier-68454) for a tragic road traffic accident (https://www.yabiladi.com/articles/details/80967/montpellier-marocain-implique-dans-accident.html) in the southern city of Montpellier in which a young mother died.
Incidents were also hyped up by the usual hypocritical far-right rabble rousers. Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally – a party founded as the National Front by racist ultra-nationalists infuriated by the loss of Algeria – called for a ban on football fans on the Champs-Elysees after actively encouraging the far more destructive and violent gilets jaunes to gather there.
When I first reported on the increasingly scandalous use of gas by Paris police in December, Aurélie Bonal, the chief spokesperson at the French embassy in London, took to Twitter to deny teargas was a chemical weapon. Despite all the scientific and legal evidence to the contrary, she said it was unethical to describe it as such.
Beyond a mother desperately trying to protect her offspring from the vile effects of these chemical weapons, other films that have been widely circulated since then are of Paris riot police spraying peaceful and stationary environmental demonstrators (https://twitter.com/extinctsymbol/status/1144576250201202690) as if they were insects.
A particularly disturbing extract of the footage shows a burly officer illegally ripping off a protester’s sunglasses (https://twitter.com/ClementLanot/status/1144572431241306112) and goggles, so ensuring that his eyes had no protection from the chemicals. More than five litres of gas were used in less than 30 minutes, and the commander in charge was among those who fainted as he suffered suffocation on the Sully Bridge, according to a police report (https://twitter.com/ellensalvi/status/1150453125360291843).
It all adds up to a vicious abuse of power that those in President Emmanuel Macron’s administration finally need to acknowledge, and do something about.
Independent, July 21st 2019
Important article backed up by video evidence. It should be sent to the OPCW, which can investigate France’s disgusting use of chemical weapons on kids…The fact that illiterate racists are using this thread to try and “defend” this shows there is a very serious problem that needs urgent action.
So many people objecting to this article over the writer, but no-ones denying the fact: Either the French police fired tear gas at families and children, or they didn’t. What ever way you dress it up that is a reprehensible act.
Well they did not ! they fired tear gas at the usual hell raisers the Yellow vests who once again decided to create violent havoc on Bastille day.
If they has fired tear gas at families, there would be a national outcry. There was not a word of this in any papers. This woman is a liar.Just look at the film, no toddlers there! Not even one woman!
We are objecting to the Indie employing an acknowledged racist and Islamist bigot.
She hates whiteh like Trump hates Muslims
Two peas of a pod.
Yet another nauseating victim laced article from Indy writers.
Nabila belongs to a class of writers who may feel that they are being given a stage from which to preach. In reality they are merely being used to provide page load traffic. The Indy really doesn’t care what they think as long as the click-baiting works.
Well a country that habitually lies (like the supposed Douma ’gas attack’, Libya etc) and fires explosive tipped missiles at others, against UN regulations, is hardly one that will be passive towards ’foreigners’ in their own country – or its own citizens for that matter.
WHAT??? in English please.You are talking through your arse.
Why does the Indie employ so many out-and-out racists and anti-semites?
Clickbait? Really? Are you that desperate?
This woman despises whites and kufirs as much as Trump hates Muslims
Peas of a pod.
“French media was instead full of erroneous claims”.
Really?? The French media does not protect the Macron government like the British press protects and lies for the Tory government, so this spurious accusation against the French press is astonishingly off the mark. If anything constant criticism of Macron is the constant dish of the day. If there had been children “gassed” I can tell you the French papers would have been full of it. As to the British press reporting this, can this disgraceful liar tell us which paper published her lies? Daily Mail? express? Possibly? Jesus!!!
So the Gruaniad and the Indie lie for the Tory government?
You generally scribble unintelligible nonsense straight from Kremlin central – which I’d alway assumed was part of your much-needed therapy, but this posting takes the biscuit.
Show it to your psychiatrist on your next appointment.
And best take a packed suitcase.
No joke, you are a serious moron if you think I am a Russian troll. LOL! No actually the Indy and the Guardian are about the only papers who do not lie for the Tories.
Just looked at the video, above. Some bits of smoke, no violence, no distress, no kids even. Somebody is happily waving what appears to be the Breton Flag before a large group of unwashed Gilets Jaunes sit down together and have a bit of a singsong.Lots of cheering and taking of selfies. Where’s the warzone? where are the oppressed? Where are the crimes against humanity and little-humanity? This woman is an effin’ danger to the world. Someone lock her away.
Thanks Noblah. Just read article in leparisien.
This woman is a menace. She doesn’t only write her nonsense here but also has a regular column in the expat monthly Connexion where she attempts to stir up hatred and trouble against the French along with that other arch-tvvat Simon Heffer.
This particular article is nearly worthy of the Express and she is to be congratulated, at least, on that.
The worst thing about her writing is that she plays in the hands of racists when she so obviously fabricate such stories. She then gets dismissed as yet another West hating Muslim and THAT is the biggest danger she presents.
Why oh why is she allowed to spread her anti-French venom in the expat paper in France I would love to know? The Brits seem to lap it up in Connexion and on the Indy , thinking see at least the French are worse than us Brits!
I mean ..to compare what was happening in the 50/60’s during the Algerian war with today s Police actions against the Gilets jaunes is pushing it a bit! Especially considering that most Gilets jaunes are anti-immigrants bordering on fascists, it is a bit rich from her to mix everything up just to paint a nasty portrait of Macron’s government. She is indeed a menace!
By the way, tear gas is NOT a biological weapon but a crowd control weapon used by all police forces in Europe. This woman is a shameless liar!
Outrageously biased article which could be described as pure fantasy or pure propaganda. I don’t understand what this woman is allowed to write such outrageous lies for the Indy frankly.
The film we see here does not show a single woman or child being so called “gassed”. It shows yet again a group of overwhelmingly male yellow vests rioters during the Bastille day celebrations. It had NOTHING to do with the Algerian team celebrations. Utter lies!
Best ignore this anti-white racist Islamist bigot.
Says the racist bigot.
Says the Russian troll.
Somewhat stupid reporting. Tear gas is not a chemical weapon anywhere near the chemical weapons banned by international treaties.
Of course it is unpleasant to experience (I have experienced it myself) – that is the point!!
This is nonsense. Tear-gas is *always* used on a country’s own citizens; it’s a police weapon, not that of an army.
In any case, the tear-gas used last week on the Champs Elysées was used, not because of the people celebrating the Algerian victory, but because of the violence used by the so-called Gilets Jaunes on that very street, on that very day. Nobody drove the people claiming to be Gilets Jaunes into gratuitous violence against the police and everybody. It was Bastille Day, the national celebration. Those people chose badly – violence claimed to be on behalf of the Gilets Jaunes, who are very patriotic people, was not likely to appeal to the real Yellow Vests, and so it proved. It went down like a lead balloon, and probably was the work of the far right. But Nabila Ramdani doesn’t help things by mistaking the events.
Really? What a completely biased view. You want to know why? That’s why: http://www.leparisien.fr/paris-75/paris-les-elus-craignent-de-nouveaux-debordements-pour-la-finale-de-la-can-15-07-2019-8117493.php