Human rights organisation Amnesty International has published a report on the "excessive force" French police used at a rave in June this year.
The Teknival rave in Redon, Brittany had been organized in tribute to Steve Maia Caniço who drowned in Nantes in 2019 following a controversial police operation, which took place on the night of June 18 to 19 2021.
The crackdown on partygoers and organisers resulted in the injuries of dozens of people.
The new report, entitled “Redon: “Freeparty'' of repression”, released on September 14 outlined that there were several human rights violations committed during law enforcement operations at the Teknival festival. These had been banned by the lle-et-Vilaine Préfecture.
Over a seven-hour period, gendarmes used tear gas, sting-ball grenades, and explosive GM2L grenades on the Teknival participants near the town of Redon. They used these forceful tactics again the next day. Sound equipment belonging to the organisers were also illegally destroyed by the police force.
The report was made using interviews, photographs, and videos from the 7-hour duration of the attempted break of the rave. It states that the long duration of the event shows how ineffective the tactics were.
The evidence from the Redon policing operation, according to Amnesty International, shows that the use of force was not “necessary nor proportionate”, as required by both French law and the UN's core principles on the use of force.
In the wake of this report being released and highlighting how is this incident at Teknival was “emblematic of the excesses of the maintenance of order in France” and that the tactics used by law enforcement was a violation of the “basic principles of the United Nations”, Amnesty International is calling for an independent body to investigate complaints against law enforcement officers. Currently, complaints against the police are managed and dealt with by the police themselves.
Amnesty is arguing that neither the festival's prohibition nor the violence perpetrated by some attendees against police can explain the French police force's failure to uphold human rights in all situations.
According to Cécile Coudriou, president of Amnesty International France: “It is unacceptable that law enforcement operations a fortiori to disperse a simple festival gathering, led to injuries, even mutilation.”
The author of the report, Anne-Sophie Simpere, told RFI that the details of the mutilation of that one reveller remain hazy: "From the testimonies we got from different eyewitnesses, there was an explosion, and then he fell back and had his hand ripped off," the investigator says.
"We cannot conclude anything, but let's remember that he was in the field at night, and grenades such as GM2L were thrown blindly - there was very little visibility," she adds, "and we know that what kind of injuries they can create."
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter