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France must probe police conduct in yellow vest protests: UN

Yellow vest protest in France. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Geneva, Switzerland Mar 06, 2019, 07.12 PM (IST)

The UN human rights chief called Wednesday for a "full investigation" into the possible excessive use of force by French police during the "yellow vest" demonstrations.

"The 'Gilets Jaunes' (yellow vests) have been protesting what they see as exclusion from economic rights and participation in public affairs," rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in her annual address to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.  

"We encourage the government to continue dialogue – including follow-up to the national discussions which are currently underway – and urge a full investigation of all reported cases of excessive use of force".

Yellow vest demonstrations have taken place across France since November. The protests began over fuel taxes but mushroomed into a revolt by people in rural and small-town France against President Emmanuel Macron's policies.

The IGPN, the body that investigates police abuses, has launched more than 100 investigations into the conduct of officers during the protests. 

Bachelet also spoke broadly about people worldwide who have taken "to the streets to protest inequalities and deteriorating economic and social conditions."

"Their demands call for respectful dialogue and genuine reform," she said. 

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Bachelet also spoke broadly about people worldwide who have taken "to the streets to protest inequalities and deteriorating economic and social conditions."