Police used systematic violent force against French traditional marriage demonstrators: report
STRASBOURG, June 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A report will be presented today at a hearing at the Council of Europe detailing systematic use of excessive and violent police actions by France’s socialist government to suppress opposition to the same-sex “marriage” law. (Read the report here - PDF)
The report on the French “Manif pour Tous and its police repression” will be presented in conjunction with today’s session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and will be presented to the United Nations in Geneva.
The hearing was organized by the European People’s Party and the Strasbourg-based European Centre for Law and Justice, in the presence of Luca Volontè, President of the EPP Group. The report contains numerous testimonies of victims of police brutality in the course of several mass demonstrations against “gay marriage.”
Since late 2012, millions of French citizens have participated in peaceful protests throughout France defending the natural family and the rights of children against the French government’s new gay “marriage” law. The ECLJ says that in sheer numbers, this is the largest mass social movement in France since the epoch-making demonstrations of May 1968.
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The report describes violent reactions by police in response to the three major demonstrations over recent months. The demonstrations as well as the many “vigils,” were “held in a peaceful and friendly atmosphere, causing no destruction of private or public property,” according to the report’s authors.
“However, the government responded in a manner unacceptable in a democracy, responding as if they were subduing a violent faction. It threatened its prohibition; it repressed it through the inappropriate use of tear gas and police violence against the crowds; and finally it arrested and arbitrarily detained the demonstrators by the hundreds.”
The report records that from the 24th to the 26th of May, “around 350 people were arrested and held in custody for up to three days”. Of these 350 people, only seven were convicted, and received only light sentences.
“The other arrests were arbitrary and were aimed to stop the social movement, in violation of fundamental freedoms of expression and manifestation,” the report says.
In addition to the 350 arrests, hundreds of people were arrested and detained for several hours under the pretext of identity checks. Often, they were arrested for wearing clothing marked with the symbol of the movement.
Grégor Puppinck, ECLJ director said that “at no time have the legality of these arrests been checked by an independent magistrate.”
“This demonstrates a serious and structural dysfunction of the procedures of identity checks and of police custody, which were employed as arbitrary sanctions, imposed without judgment.”
The ECLJ notes that those arrested had their identities and fingerprints recorded in police files, “which is in violation of their rights, as determined by the European Court of Human Rights”. The ECLJ is requesting that the names of those arrested and not prosecuted be erased from the files.
The ECLJ especially expressed concern over the imprisonment of Bernard-Nicolas Buss, a twenty-three year old Parisian student who was arrested Sunday, June 16th on the Champs-Elysees in Paris after a peaceful demonstration. Prosecuted for resisting arrest, he was sentenced to four months in prison, two of which are non-suspended, and was immediately imprisoned in Fleury-Merogis prison, where he was put in solitary confinement.
“All of this,” Puppinck noted, “without his being charged with any act of violence against persons or property by the judges.”
“These practices must cease, be denounced and condemned,” Puppinck added.