France’s ‘yellow vest’ protestors were back on the streets this weekend, as their movement calling for better living standards for low- and middle-income earners held its tenth nationwide day of action. While some demonstrations have been marred by violence from extremist groups, there is mounting criticism of aggressive police tactics. These notably include the widespread and often indiscriminate use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused, according to several estimations, around 100 serious and life-changing injuries to protestors and bystanders. Mediapart co-editor Carine Fouteau argues here why these highly dangerous weapons, which France is one of very few countries to deploy in such situations, should be immediately banned from crowd-control policing.
The France-based international police cooperation organisation Interpol has since last year become part-funded by the world’s largest cigarette producer, Philip Morris International, in a deal presented as helping to fight black market sales and to ensure traceability of tobacco products. This further example of the intergovernmental police organisation’s controversial new partnerships with the private sector raises a number of concerns, not least over the suspicion that the tobacco industry itself has been feeding criminal networks involved in the trafficking. Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt report.