Flash Ball Launcher Against the Temple of a Yellow Vest: When the Media Tries to Relativize Police Violence

The viral image of a Yellow Vest being pushed to the ground by the Brigade Anti-Criminalité at Le Mans has caused much debate. On the one hand, the sequence shocked, and rightly so, and on the other hand, the media tried to play down the situation. An attempt to trivialise the repression.

It was during act 19 in Le Mans, while everywhere in France the repression was once again fierce, that this image was taken.

The scandal around the photo quickly swelled on social networks and for good reason – this time there was no injury for the protester, but everyone imagines the worst seeing the flash ball launcher that caused so many injuries and mutilations so close to someone’s head. Indeed, the ravages of the flash ball launcher no longer need to be demonstrated. And yet, the government is trying, Saturday after Saturday, to legitimise its use.

We have already seen Castaner explain to children the use of this weapon, we remember the scathing “I think they can shoot this part”. Around this scene, several media outlets tried to write the image off as “Fake News” or in any case, to explain that it was a mistake.

This time, “Franceinfo” went to find more photos to explain the sequence showing the moments before and after, based on the words of a police source. For them, no doubt, the flash ball launcher would have “naturally found itself close to the individual”. A quick and unconvincing explanation that, taking a step back, quickly takes a form of the legitimisation of repression. The man in the photo was arrested for “outrage” and “rebellion” and is found, even momentarily, on the ground with a flash ball launcher near his head. It is the very principle of such an arrest that must be denounced.

“Franceinfo” states that the finger of the person with the flash ball launcher is not on the trigger, but the tension is palpable. When we know the ravages of the flash ball launcher, the mere sight of this weapon makes the spine shiver, and seeing it so close to a face is worse! Whether the gesture is intentional or not, it actually shows the level of trivialisation of the use of the flash ball launcher by the forces of repression. As a reminder, in early March, there were already more than 13,000 shots that resulted in many serious injuries, for which we rarely see the mainstream media doing such “contextualization” work!

Antoine Bordas

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