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Turkey concerned about 'disproportionate use of force' in French protests

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published December 06,2019

Turkey is concerned about general strikes and protests, as well as the "disproportionate use of force" by security forces in France, country's Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said in a written statement that intervention of French police, injuring press members, including an Anadolu Agency journalist, on Thursday is an "unacceptable physical interference" against the press freedom.

An Anadolu Agency photojournalist Mustafa Yalcin was injured in the eye on Thursday when a gas canister fired by the security forces struck him in the face, breaking his mask. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and undergone six-hours-operation.

"The fact that the French authorities have not issued any apology on the issue also raises the gravity of the situation," it added.

The ministry also called on the French government to act "in accordance with European and universal human rights norms" for demonstrations that are likely to continue in the coming period.

In a separate statement, the ministry also warned Turkish citizens "to be cautious" when traveling to France due to the ongoing protests in the country.

It warned the Turkish citizens in France and those planning to travel to the country to take into account the "adverse conditions" and plan their travels accordingly.

The ministry urged Turkish citizens to avoid possible demonstration locations, as well as close surroundings of protests, and regularly monitor the development of possible events from local authorities and media organizations.

The statement also recommended the Turkish people to follow additional warnings and announcements by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Turkish Embassy in Paris and the Consulate General in France.

- Protests in France

The Interior Ministry said 806,000 people took part in the protests, while labor unions put the number at nearly 1.5 million for the demonstrations in which police have used smoke bombs to disperse the crowd.

The "unlimited" strike impacted all public transport systems in the country, according to local media reports.

A total of 90 people have been arrested so far in Paris, police said.

Some train, subway and bus services were canceled and many schools were closed while 20% of flights to the country have also been canceled.

The Paris Police Department said on Twitter that it had conducted 6,476 checks so far, and the strike was set to continue until Monday, according to labor unions.

The Gare du Nord, a railway station in Paris, was almost empty in the morning, according to broadcaster France 24.

Protesters, however, made their way to the station later in the day to attend the main march to Place de la Nation square.

They included police, healthcare professionals, teachers, lawyers, taxi and freight drivers, postal workers, farmers, civil servants, refinery workers and students, according to the Le Monde daily.

The walkout came after the government announced its determination to implement pension reform despite a nationwide outcry.

According to France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, President Emmanuel Macron has further fueled the "sense of anger and rebellion" among French people against their president with his economic policies that have given wealthy people a greater share of national income since his inauguration on May 17, 2017.

He has been facing the biggest crisis since the beginning of the Yellow Vest protests in October last year.