Written by Wendy Wright
NEW YORK, July 12 (C-FAM) France is under scrutiny by a European council for its police abuse of peaceful pro-marriage demonstrators.
The Council of Europe is sending investigators to France to look into government violence against people who oppose a new law allowing same-sex marriage. The Council also passed a resolution reaffirming the freedom of assembly and speech, citing the violence against marriage supporters in France “including the use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators.”
The Monitoring Committee holds Council of Europe members accountable, especially regarding human rights. It has received only 7 petitions since it was established in 1997. The process could lead to sanctions against France.
The resolution that passed on June 27 notes that pro-marriage demonstrations in Paris have involved over 2 million people.
Videos of police beating marriage supporters have circulated on the Internet. Critics accuse France of arbitrarily arresting people – even passers-by – to quash free speech.
One documentary shows police in a huddle saying, “He’s calm and quiet. Attack him from the rear. The dude won’t see it coming.” Five officers then rush and tackle a young man.
Another shows Christine Boutin, a former Cabinet minister under former French president Nicholas Sarkozy and current president of the Christian Democratic Party, knocked to the ground with tear gas.
Nicolas-Bernard Busse, a 23-year old student sentenced to four months in jail, is being held in solitary confinement while awaiting his appeal.
President Francois Hollande introduced the homosexual marriage bill in October. Hundreds of demonstrations have taken place since November, with three massive rallies in Paris. Impromptu demonstrations greet Hollande and his officials as they travel.
Small vigils have also been met with disproportion responses, according to a report by the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ).
When France’s minister of state visited a local college, fifteen demonstrators, mainly women and children, were confronted by a large number of police. Officers knocked a woman to the ground and beat her. A young girl who is disabled was also attacked, leaving her unable to work for ten days.
About 30 people were injured in another demonstration. One vivid testimony stated:
“A young black man is chased by police. In his course, he is completely alone, and therefore does not present a single risk, given the large number of police present. He is caught quickly. He is thrown to the ground with extreme brutality and is savagely beaten. His head seems crushed by the legs and knees of the police who surround him. He bleeds. He find the force to continue to scream, with a voice more and more weak and broken: ‘Hollande . . . Your law . . . we do not want it.’ Just until his voice stops, apparently because of the boot of a policeman who crushed his mouth. He is finally dragged to a car in which he is thrown like a common package.”
Luca Volonte, a former member of the Council of Europe, and ECLJ, who compiled testimonies from 100 victims, presented evidence to the Council. Two-dozen deputies of different parties and nationalities introduced the resolution.
Families, elderly, and single people populate the overall cheerful protests. Prominent leaders include homosexuals who emphasize that children need a mother and father.