Growing calls for riot control guns to be banned
January 21, 2019 - Dozens of serious injuries caused by French police riot guns during the yellow-vest protests have led to calls for such weapons to be banned.
Police use the "LBD40", a weapon described as non-lethal, which projects 40-mm semi-rigid rubber balls. Pellets travel at a speed of 100m/s and are meant to distort upon impact, thus not breaking the skin.
However, at least 15 people have reportedly been partially blinded, with other injuries including open fractures to the face and cranial trauma.
Peaceful rallies have sometimes ended in violence and vandalism and 1,000 police are among those wounded.
France's human rights chief has called for the weapon's use to be halted, but the government insists it is deployed only under very strict conditions.
The European Court of Human Rights rejected a temporary ban on flash-balls last month, in a case brought by several people who said they had been hit by flash-balls.
- Gilets jaunes: growing calls for Flash Ball riot control guns to be banned in France (AFP)
- Gilets Jaunes: French flash-ball row over riot-gun injuries (BBC)
- Riot control guns: Whats all the fuss about Flash Balls in France? (The Local)
- Le Lanceur de Balles de Défense (LBD 40)
- Facts and Figures (B&T)