French riot police deploy assault rifles at 'yellow vest' demonstrations

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A document obtained by Mediapart reveals that the national director of France’s CRS riot police ordered the deployment of Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles during nationwide demonstrations on January 12th by the ‘yellow vest’ movement. The militarisation of policing tactics during the recurrent demonstrations, in protest over falling living standards for low- and middle-income earners, includes an almost systematic use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused numerous serious injuries. Karl Laske reports on the arsenal employed and the dramatic consequences of the escalating violence.

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Several short videos posted on Twitter on January 12th by supporters of the ‘yellow vest’ movement show CRS crowd-control police officers, deployed that day on the avenues that lead to the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris, armed with G36 assault rifles.