Drones and UV spray: French police to get new high tech weapons against the rioters

French police are to be issued with new high-tech equipment to help in their battle against violent protesters and looters. But will it be enough?

Drones and UV spray: French police to get new high tech weapons against the rioters
Riot police on the Champs-Elysées. Photo/ AFP

As part of a package of measures designed to crack down on the kind of violent scenes seen on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday, police are to be given new weapons.

The new equipment includes an ultra-violet spray that is impossible to wash off.


(The new crime-fighting tools will supplement the water cannon and tear gas that French police already use. Photo: AFP)


Used mainly for identifying rioters after the event, it is a colourless, odourless liquid that can be sprayed over groups of people.

The product only shows up under UV light, remaining for up to four weeks on skin and longer on clothes, according to French newspaper L'Express.

Riot police are also to be equipped with drones which can provide photos and video footage of the crowds.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Monday a package of measures designed to halt further widespread violence linked to 'yellow vest' protests.

Announced in response to rioting, looting and arson on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday; the measures included the banning demonstrations in certain ares of Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse if violent demonstrators such as black-block anarchists are spotted.

The PM stressed that the measures were in response to those intent on violence and not ordinary yellow vest demonstrators who have taken to the streets on Saturdays in recent months, but whose numbers have dipped.

“I am not mixing up the rioters (casseurs) with the large majority of yellow vests, who are no longer demonstrating…,” he said.

“All those who are participating in these undeclared demonstrations are complicit. Their only cause is violence.”

Some 5,000 police were deployed in the capital on Saturday, far outnumbering the several hundred black-clad rioters who caused havoc for more than seven hours on the capital's most famous boulevard.
TV footage often showed officers standing in formation while the protesters burned and pillaged dozens of stores.

Some have called for French police to be far more active in tackling troublemakers.

Member comments

  1. Why tell the rioters what new weapons you have in store? SURPRISE them!
    UV spray will help?
    Drones? Am I missing something? Is this a video game?
    Bring in the TANKS!

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What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?

A court in France has finally handed out sentences to some of those involved in the vandalism and theft at the Arc de Triomphe in December 2018 - when 'yellow vest' violence in Paris shocked the world.

What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?
'Yellow vest' protesters clash with police by the Arc de Triomphe on December 1st 2018 in Paris. Photo: Abdulmonam EASSA / AFP

The French court on Thursday sentenced eight people to suspended jail terms and community service for taking part in one of the most violent episodes of the anti-government ‘yellow vest’ protests that rocked France two years ago.

A total of nine stood trial this week for the incident, but one of them, a former soldier, was cleared for lack of evidence, presiding judge Sonia Lumbroso said at the verdict.

The court ruled the suspects were neither the instigators nor the main culprits of the vandalism and looting around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, when scenes of destruction and fierce clashes with police made global headlines.

Most of them had no criminal records.

They were sentenced to 70 hours of community service for entering the monument, but those also found guilty of stealing items such as postcards, Arc de Triomphe models or miniature Eiffel Towers from the gift shop, were fined €100 for theft.

A ‘yellow vest’ protester arrives at the courthouse in Paris to attend the trial of ten people on charge of destruction and theft around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. Photo: Thomas COEX / AFP

One of the group, a man who was caught on camera trying to break down a door with a fire extinguisher, was handed the most severe sentence, a suspended prison term of eight months.

Dozens of cars were set on fire and businesses trashed all along the celebrated Champs-Elysées avenue on December 1st, 2018, the third Saturday of mass demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

READ ALSO: Macron risks losing support from left against Le Pen in French presidential election

He was accused of ignoring the plight of struggling French families and after months of protests he abandoned a planned fuel tax hike and raised spending on the lowest earners.

The protesters had already skirmished with security forces at earlier rallies, but police were unprepared for the rioting that engulfed the capital just a few weeks before Christmas.

Despite firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets, the officers were forced to abandon their positions around the Arc de Triomphe, which honours France’s war dead.

Protesters snuffed out the eternal flame over the tomb of an unknown World War I soldier and spray-painted the stone walls with graffiti including “the yellow vests will triumph”.

Others forced their way inside the arch, ransacking the gift shop and damaging scores of artworks, causing damage that cost €1.2 million to repair.

READ ALSO: Is France’s ‘yellow vest’ movement really on its way back?