Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Yellow Vests: Why are the soldiers from Operation Sentinel being called to reinforce "Act 19"?

SECURITY – At the end of the cabinet meeting, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux announced a strengthening of the Sentinel mission to protect public buildings against protesters.

In front of the breakers, the soldiers in reinforcement. Wednesday, at the end of the cabinet meeting, the government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux announced that the government was going to use the Sentinel device under the "Act 19" Vests yellow, already scheduled next Saturday in the capital. Operation Sentinel was deployed after the attacks of January 2015, and reinforced after November 13, 2015.

The government, which wants to "toughen the response" of the police after the violence and scenes of looting that have enamelled the day last Saturday, does not however intend to entrust the military a law enforcement mission. According to Benjamin Griveaux, "the reinforced mobilization" soldiers of the Sentinel device will aim to "secure the fixed and static points in accordance with their mission". That is to say, mainly, protect the official buildings, when some groups on Facebook call the demonstrators to go to the Elysee. The decision announced by Emmanuel Macron during the Council of Ministers should allow law enforcement to "focus on movement, maintenance and restoration of order," says Benjamin Griveaux.

The mobilization of the military comes on top of a series of measures announced on Tuesday by the executive, including the possibility of banning demonstrations in case of presence of "ultras", the penalties increased in the event of participation in a prohibited event , the establishment of dedicated "anti-crash" brigades, the use of drones, the use of a coded marking product to trace the breakers and the filtering of assemblies upstream.

The participation of the Sentinel staff to secure the administrative and institutional sites had already been considered after the particularly violent demonstration of December 1, after the comments of Yellow Vest Eric Drouet who called in particular to "enter the Elysée". Finally, on 8 December, the presence of the army resulted in the use of several armored vehicles of the mobile gendarmerie, able to contain a procession and launch large quantities of tear gas.

The presence – very symbolic in France – of soldiers in the device was not slow to react in the opposition. "Whatever the circumstances, the army can not and must not carry out any police task.It is not his job," said LFI MP Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Twitter, while his colleague Eric Coquerel denounced " an irresponsible escalation ".

On the contrary, the LR deputy Eric Ciotti judged "positive that we mobilize" Sentinel soldiers on static missions, "even if it is not their primary mission". However, he wondered about "the possibilities of reaction if protesters approach them". "They are not trained or equipped to maintain order, they only have the ability to fight back with their weapons," said the MP.

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