The horrid moment when a man was hit in the face during Yellow Vest rallies in Paris was caught on camera, with witnesses saying the projectile was fired from a riot gun – a controversial weapon used by the French police.
WARNING! The video contains images that you may find upsetting.
Encore une fois à #Paris un gilet jaune recoy un tir de #LBD40 en pleine tête. (Au visage) #ActeXVI #GiletsJaunes pic.twitter.com/03CNdUYaca
— Gilets Jaunes Européens (@GEuropeens) March 2, 2019
The video apparently captured using a mobile phone camera, shows protesters trying to evade projectiles being fired by police near the iconic Arc de Triomphe. Seconds later, a man can be seen lying on the ground as first responders rush to help him.
It is unclear whether the injury was life-threatening.
Witnesses said the victim was hit by a so-called defensive bullet launcher, a weapon blamed for dozens of injuries to anti-government Yellow Vest protesters in recent weeks.
The weapon fires 40mm rubber projectiles, officially considered non-lethal. It was developed by a French firm as an alternative to other, more damaging tools like rubber bullets or batons.
Police later said that the injured man was taken to a hospital by emergency services. Investigators will now look into the incident in a bid to establish who was responsible.
PARIS – Un blessé grave est évacué. D’après les témoins, il a reçu un tir de flashball dans la bouche. #GiletsJaunes #ActeXVI #Acte16 #2mars #2mars2019 pic.twitter.com/lA5joZ7RAa
— Clément Lanot (@ClementLanot) March 2, 2019
Around 39,300 Yellow Vests protested nationwide this weekend, including 4,000 in Paris, according to the Interior Ministry, down on the 46,600 turnouts reported last week, according to AFP.
The Yellow Vests began their demonstrations in November last year with people venting anger at controversial tax hikes and worsening living standards. It has since snowballed into a nationwide grassroots movement that demands an end to Macron’s neoliberal policies.
Over 2,000 people have been arrested since the demonstrations began, and dozens of protesters have been injured during violent clashes with police.