The UN’s special rapporteur on torture will be intervening over reported police brutality towards anti-lockdown protestors last weekend, warning that governments have begun to “regard their own population as the enemy” on covid.
Nils Melzer, the UN official, said that he has received over 100 reports of excessive police violence from German authorities since last weekend’s Berlin anti-lockdown demonstrations.
He will now be investigating each claim, and will inform the German government of his findings with requests for clarification and recommended punishments where appropriate once the investigation is complete.
“We will now sift through and evaluate the material,” he said.
“Every single message and video needs to be carefully verified and I will also speak to direct eyewitnesses. But my impression is that in several cases there is reason enough for an official intervention on my part with the federal government. ”
Melzer added that he was “very concerned about the development of police operations in demonstrations worldwide,” saying that “Something fundamental is going wrong – in all regions of the world, the authorities are evidently increasingly viewing their own people as an enemy.
“Every single case must be clarified, and thoroughly. And every clear rule violation by police officers must have severe consequences. The politically responsible must not take the incidents lightly.”
Melzer went on to condemn violence against police officers, but said that these could not justify police retaliation against non-violent protests, urging police to “use proportionality in all cases.”
“Violent actions against police officers are also unacceptable, they are crimes for which the perpetrators must be punished,” he said.
“However, isolated violence by demonstrators must in no way serve to justify police violence against other, non-violent demonstrators.
“The majority of the protests were not violent rioters. It is absolutely unacceptable when the police take action against defenseless demonstrators because of mere administrative offenses or civil disobedience with sometimes life-threatening violence.
“It is absolutely unacceptable when the police take action against defenseless demonstrators because of mere administrative offenses or civil disobedience with sometimes life-threatening violence.
“If the police do not clearly communicate that they see themselves as friends and helpers, but rather treat their own population as an enemy, then a dangerous spiral has been set in motion: namely that the next thing is that the population will also regard the police as an enemy, along with the government.
“It is the responsibility of every government to prevent such a development through clear, de-escalating communication. It is also absurd to break up a demonstration with reference to health protection when demonstrators are rounded up and injured with completely arbitrary brutality.”