Amnesty International is sounding the alert in France over alleged police brutality from the authorities of a national coronavirus lockdown.
The warning comes following violent clashes in the country’s poorer suburbs, in which taxpayers fighting with confinement in overcrowded flats have accused police of heavy-handed tactics.
The NGO says it’s confirmed 15 videos revealing police using excessive force or making derogatory remarks while controlling whether individuals complied with stringent lockdown steps intended to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
They had been filmed around 15 French cities between March 18 and April 25.
“Each of these videos exemplifies instances of violations of global law regarding human rights: criminal, unnecessary or excessive use of force, racist or homophobic insults,” Amnesty International stated in an announcement on Thursday.
While it notes that”the job of law enforcement is a complex and challenging one,” and lots of authorities checks do comply with regulations,” the seriousness of the scenarios, their recurrence from various areas throughout the state show that these aren’t isolated behaviors”.
Angry youth accused police of using the mandate to impose limitations and said authorities had harassed, humiliated, and abused them. Within the course of many nights, automobiles and garbage bins were put on fire.
Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges was meeting with residents and documenting that the anxieties in a succession of reports.
“It is sad to say but we wish to possibly hurt their coworkers so they feel what we feel when they hurt our friends,” said the guy, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
They struck. They do not even come to restrain individuals, yet to hit”
The unrest was triggered by a string of videos published online revealing police facing and hitting individuals who broke confinement principles in poor regions of France.
French authorities have conducted at least 19 million tests up to now throughout the country’s eight-week lockdown.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner confessed in an interview that police were running twice as many tests in poor neighborhoods like the Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis.
Crime is an issue in these regions, in which youth unemployment operates over twice the national average.
But, Anne-Sophie Simple, an advocacy officer in Amnesty International France, noted that France was convicted in the past from the European Court of Human Rights to Several cases of illegal use of force.
“This is quite problematic in ordinary times. It is particularly problematic in the context of an outbreak where the issue of trust between authorities and population is essential to resolve the issue,” she explained.
An incident where a bike crashed in an unmarked police car, triggering unrest at Villeneuve-la-Garenne a month, is now under investigation.
But a lot of politicians and citizens are currently drawing comparisons to the riots that shook the nation in 2005, after the deaths of two teens during a police chase.
“We aren’t immune to the recurrence of the riots of 2005. By the moment we’ve got a circumstance which allows for this and we’ve got the spark for it to restart… we aren’t immune,” said Brice Nkunda, a municipal council member in Villeneuve-la-Garenne.
“Especially considering that the specific circumstance of confinement, because using all the coronavirus, we dwell in a pressure cooker”