Announcement effect or real change? The Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, announced, Sunday, January 26, the ban on the GLI-F4 grenade, a weapon containing 25 g of TNT, which constituted until now the last explosive ordnance used to maintain the order in France. A gesture that comes at a time when the government is facing a lively controversy over police violence.
Regularly criticized for the mutilations it causes and presented as the most powerful grenade in France, the GLI-F4 will be replaced by the GM2L, another munition manufactured by the armament company Alsetex. Presented as less dangerous by the executive, the GM2L has been considered for several years as the obvious “replacement” for the GLI-F4 – which has not been produced since 2014 and whose stocks are running low.
In flight, the gendarmerie newspaper, a May article already reported that she was going “Gradually replace the GLI-F4 in the arsenal of gendarmes during the years 2020-2022”. “For us, it doesn’t change anything since the GLI is replaced by the GM2L”, responded a CRS questioned by Agence France-presse.
Like the GLI-F4, the GM2L is a weapon of “Diversion”, of “Deterrence”, of “Neutralization” and of “Control of madmen”, can we read on Alsetex’s technical sheet – the armaments and research company has been the subject of a judicial inquiry since the death of a worker in an explosion on its site in 2014. When it is used, she “Instantly releases a cloud of [gaz] Powdery CS [aux effets lacrymogènes] covered by a sound effect destabilizing the demonstrators “, still indicates the technical sheet.
A weapon devoid of explosives
The GM2L is thus part of the “combined effect weapons”, mixing tear and sound effect, but unlike the GLI-F4, it does not include an explosive. To produce the sound effect usually made possible by explosives, the GM2L is developed with “A pyrotechnic composition”, according to an internal document from Alsetex, posted online by the Désarmons-les collective.
According to the specifications of this weapon, published by flight in 2018, this pyrotechnic composition “Must not contain a high explosive” – an imperative which facilitates its marketing abroad. An argument that weighed in the choice of the Interior Ministry to retain the GM2L as a replacement for the GLI-F4, recalls Release, who published an investigation on this grenade that France is the only one to use in Europe.
Interviewed in late 2018 by flight, retired gendarmerie general Bertrand Cavallier put forward another argument to defend the marketing of the GM2L: “The absence of annoying shine”. Unlike the GLI-F4 technical sheet, the GM2L technical sheet underlines that “The materials used for the manufacture of this grenade (polyethylene elastomer plastic) make it possible to generate no shine during its operation”.
Despite these differences, the internal document of the armaments company emphasizes that the functioning of the two grenades is “Identical”. Place Beauvau recognized in May, before the Council of State, the unequivocal dangerousness of the GM2L: “The power (and therefore the danger for anyone who wants to pick up such a projectile) is almost similar to that of the GLI-F4, despite the absence of explosives”, emphasized the ministry in its defense brief consulted by Release.
In 2018, an article byflight also underlined the dangerousness of this weapon: ” As soon as an ammunition produces a strong sound intensity, it is associated with a phenomenon of breath, that is to say of air compression. This results in risks of hearing damage for those who are in the immediate vicinity of the ammunition during its detonation / deflagration. “ The magazine, cited by Désarmons-les, also mentioned the risks induced by tear gas: “Any pyrotechnic composition can cause skin, muscle and bone lesions… The same is true for this new pomegranate. “
All elements which make say to police organizations, such as SGP Police-FO Unit, that this announcement is primarily akin to communication while the Ministry of the Interior must soon publish its new national plan for the maintenance of order.