(MENAFN) The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, has accused the French government of using excessive force against protesters who were demonstrating against the pension reforms. She claimed that the government's actions were a violation of the protesters' freedom of assembly and expression. While acknowledging that sporadic violent incidents have taken place, Mijatovic stated that they do not justify the use of excessive force by state agents.
Mijatovic expressed concern about the circumstances surrounding the pension protests, stating that the French authorities have an obligation to protect peaceful protesters and journalists from both police violence and fringe demonstrators. She emphasized that a state may have the authority to use force to restore order, but such use must only take place as a last resort and in strict compliance with the conditions of necessity and proportionality. Violence, regardless of its origin, cannot be used as a means of resolving a social and/or political crisis.
The commissioner's remarks come amid ongoing protests in France against the government's proposed pension reforms. The French government has been accused of being heavy-handed in its response to the protests, with reports of police using tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets against demonstrators. The government has defended its actions, stating that it is necessary to maintain public order and prevent violence during the protests.
The situation in France remains tense, with protesters and the government seemingly at loggerheads over the proposed reforms. Mijatovic's statement has added to the pressure on the French government to use restraint in its response to the protests and to ensure that the rights of peaceful protesters are protected.
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