French police hit with poo bombs at ‘yellow vest’ protests

Protesters have resorted to throwing bags of poo at police. (File/AFP)
Updated 04 March 2019
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French police hit with poo bombs at ‘yellow vest’ protests

  • Protesters threw exploding bags of excrement at police
  • Saturday's protests were attended by about 40,000 people

MARSEILLE: French police are facing a new form of weapon during “yellow vest” protests — bags of fecal matter thrown bomb-like by demonstrators.
On Saturday “bags filled with faeces were thrown at police and exploded. Three policemen were soaked through with it,” Rudy Manna from the Alliance police trade union in the southern port city of Marseille told AFP.
One policeman also suffered an elbow injury when hit by “a poop-filled projectile,” Marseille police headquarters said.
Similar incidents took place in the southern city of Montpellier, police trade union representatives said.
Police said there had been calls on social media ahead of Saturday’s demonstrations for demonstrators to arm themselves with ‘Caca-tovs’ — after Molotov cocktails but filled with “caca,” the French term for poo.
“The policemen were deeply humiliated,” Manna said, adding that none of the perpetrators, hidden in a crowd of about 1,000 demonstrators in Marseille, had been identified.
Saturday marked the 16th straight weekend of “yellow vest” demonstrations in France since November, which have often seen security forces targeted with stones and other projectiles.
Authorities said nearly 40,000 people took part.
A total of 11 people have died during the demonstrations which began over fuel taxes but mushroomed into a revolt by people in rural and small-town France against French President Emmanuel Macron.


‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

Updated 24 May 2019
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‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

  • A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide”
  • Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers

YANGON: Myanmar must “show results” to convince Rohingya refugees to return, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Friday at the end of his first visit to Myanmar since the crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
A brutal military campaign in western Rakhine state forced some 740,000 Rohingya over the border into Bangladesh.
Around one million Rohingya now languish in sprawling refugee camps from various waves of persecution.
A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide” and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has started preliminary investigations.
During his visit Grandi spoke with both Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhist communities in Maungdaw and Buthidaung in northern Rakhine, the epicenter of the violence.
He also held discussions with officials in capital Naypyidaw, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, describing all talks as “constructive.”
“My message is: ‘please accelerate’, because it has been very slow in the implementation in this first year. We need to show results,” he told AFP in an interview in Yangon.
“This is not enough to convince people to come back,” he said.
Grandi visited the camps in Bangladesh in April.
The two countries have signed a repatriation agreement but so far virtually no refugees have returned, fearing for their safety and unconvinced they will be granted citizenship.
Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers and the community has had its rights eroded over decades.
Gaining independent access to northern Rakhine is difficult with most journalists, observers and diplomats only allowed on brief chaperoned visits.
Grandi defended the UNHCR’s involvement in a plan by the Bangladeshi government to move some 100,000 refugees onto low-lying island Bhashan Char.
The area in the Bay of Bengal is prone to flooding and cyclones.
Rights groups oppose the scheme that has also so far been universally rejected by the Rohingya themselves.
The refugee agency must be “involved” to have the necessary information in order to take a stance on the issue, Grandi said.
“We’re still at that stage, no more than that.”
He also visited camps near Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, where nearly 130,000 Rohingya have been confined since a previous bout of violence in 2012.
Myanmar has announced it will close the camps but many are skeptical the displaced will enjoy more freedoms.
Grandi said the UNHCR would reconsider its role in providing services if conditions did not substantially improve.
“To simply transform the camps, upgrade the camps, upgrade the houses, for example, but leave them in the same situation will not be a solution,” he said.