Every day, as part of the municipal elections, Le Parisien scrutinizes a declaration or a candidate’s proposal.
There are campaign themes on which all the candidates for mayor of Paris compete. Pollution, security, housing, green spaces, to name a few. And then there are the others, on which it is a question of differentiating themselves and of imprinting their brand. For Danielle Simonnet, invested by La France insoumise, the ban on defense ball launchers (LBD), Flash-Ball type, and de-encirclement grenades on Parisian territory undoubtedly falls into this second category.
The measure is promised on page 11 of the candidate’s program: “The City of Paris must guarantee the respect of fundamental freedoms on its territory: thus, we will firmly oppose any will of the government to restrict the right to demonstrate on the Parisian territory. We will also take action against police violence by adopting a decree banning the use of LBDs and de-encirclement grenades on Parisian territory. “
The subject is not new. The mobilization of yellow vests has led politicians to take up this subject. Danielle Simonnet, she had long been calling for the ban on these sublethal weapons. In 2016, after the loss of an eye of a Rennes student during a demonstration against the El Khomri law, she was one of the co-signers of a forum calling for the ban on these weapons.
In February 2019, voice somewhat hoarse, she spoke to the Council of Paris to present a wish calling for the arrest of the government by the mayor of Paris in order to immediately suspend “the use of flashballs-LBD and grenades of de-encirclement and tear gas GLI-F4 by the police in the context of demonstrations.
In the aftermath, still in February 2019, the town hall of Paris presented its own wish. Anne Hidalgo thus called on the Minister of the Interior to take four measures:
With her campaign proposal, Danielle Simonnet therefore goes further: she promises a municipal decree to ban outright the use of these weapons in Paris by the police. A measure that would be devoid of any practical consequence. The list made available to the police does not fall under municipal jurisdiction. It comes under the regulatory route, taken by decree in the Council of State.
“This is a subject that has been regularly put on the table in recent years but the initiatives have been ineffective,” notes for Parisian lawyer Thierry Vallat. He believes that the promise of Danielle Simonnet is purely symbolic, even a strategy of “catch-boob”: “The town hall has no jurisdiction in this matter. It does not have the power to prohibit LBDs or de-encirclement grenades on its territory. “
Vain legislative proposals
For good reason, even opposition parliamentarians break their teeth when they try to change the law. Last year, Communist deputies tabled a bill to ban the use of defense ball throwers for the maintenance of order. The text was rejected on March 9, 2019 by the upper house.
The Law Commission, which studied this proposal, had itself identified a problem of jurisdiction. “The conditions of use of weapons within the framework of operations of maintenance and restoration of order and, a fortiori, the description of the weapons likely to be used, are defined by regulatory way”, one can read. MEPs therefore have no influence on this list. The same criticism was made of article 2 of this bill, which provided for the opening to the public of the processing file relating to the monitoring of the use of weapons, in which the police report the use of the LBD. “The conditions of access to this file are fixed by regulatory means and cannot be modified by law”, indicated the Law Commission.
Put the subject on the table
Contacted by Le Parisien, Danielle Simonnet said that she perfectly understood the limits of her electoral promise. “We know that this is a national problem. The interest of this municipal decree, even if it were to be postponed, would be to put the subject on the table and to provoke debate. It is the same as anti-pesticide orders. “
With her proposal, Danielle Simonnet says she wants to stand out from the campaign favorites, who all advocate for the creation of a municipal police, armed or not. In March 2019, a report by the rights defender advocated the prohibition of defense ball launchers (LBD 40×46) as well as GLI-F4 grenades. The gradual withdrawal of the latter was noted two months later.
The mayor of Paris is not competent to decide on the withdrawal of this or that weapon from the police. The list of weapons made available to them is in fact fixed by decree of the Council of State.
Numerous initiatives have been carried out in recent years to ban LBDs and de-encirclement grenades. They remained without result.
Danielle Simonnet says that she is aware of the limits of her proposal and intends to “provoke debate” on the subject.