Geneva grenade grief - Guy grills government

GUY SMALLMAN is back from Geneva and when the Freelance last spoke to him was able to get around with just the one crutch. Guy suffered serious damage to his left leg when riot police fired a round of concussion grenades at him as he was photographing peaceful demonstrators leaving a protest in Geneva on 1 June against the "G8" summit in nearby Evian - see here. It's still too soon to tell how thoroughly his leg will recover.

Photo © Guy Smallman
D'oh! Other police earlier on 1 June: these are French shields and those who fired grenades at Guy spoke German.

Now Guy, a member of the London Freelance Branch committee, has many questions for the Swiss authorities:

  • Why were riot police aggressively deployed against people returning from a peaceful demonstration?
  • Why did they seek to provoke a confrontation with demonstrators?
  • Why did the police use concussion grenades on demonstrators who they outnumbered by 20 to 1?
  • Why did the police use concussion grenades when other less dangerous weapons such as teargas and watercannons were available?
  • Why did police fire concussion grenades at protesters who were running away from them up a steep concrete staircase?
  • How many different types of concussion grenade were in use at this incident?
  • What are the guidelines for the use of concussion grenades?
  • Who was directly responsible for the actions of the police on Sunday 1 June and to whom are they accountable?
  • Why were accredited journalists assaulted by the police when covering the G8 demonstrations?
  • Why were press cards ignored?
  • Why did the police confiscate films and video tapes from accredited journalists?
  • Why did the police confiscate breathing protection from accredited journalists?

The NUJ and the Branch will be pursuing these questions.

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