“Questioning Control: The Innovations of Coded Marker Basins”

Used to help identify perpetrators of serious offences, the coded marker products were used by law enforcement during recent demonstrations by opponents of substitute water reserves in Deux-Sèvres.

Were coded marking products (PMC), also called coded marker products, used during the demonstration against the replacement water reserves in Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres), on March 25, to mark certain demonstrators identified as perpetrators of serious offenses by the police?

According to Me Coline Bouillon, lawyer for two people placed in police custody after the demonstration, “PMCs were used, yes” in Sainte Soline. They are behind the arrest of these two customers.

In a first online report, the League of Human Rights (LDH) indicates having observed at least one EMEK EMF 100, PMC coded marking product type rifle”.

It considers that the entire system and the means put in place for the event have “seriously endangered all the people present on the spot”.

On the use of PMCs, the LDH has not, for the moment, recorded a specific position. But she notices that she’s getting “outside the legal framework”.

I believe that we are mainly trying to prevent demonstrations

Nathalie Tehio

Member of the national office of the LDH

“With coding products, the freedom to demonstrate is affected as well as the dignity of the person, explains Nathalie Tehio, member of the national office of the Human Rights League. Because with these products, we mark people. Usually we mark objects or animals, not humans.” she observes.

“Regarding the freedom to demonstrate, we must ask ourselves: for what purpose should PMCs be used? It is either repressive or preventive. From a preventive point of view, the person has not taken action at the League, we are absolutely against it. From a repressive point of view, Article 34 of the Constitution clearly states that criminal procedure, that is to say what governs the rules for finding the perpetrators of criminal offences, is governed by the law and only by the law. Now, there is no law!”

The LDH goes even further in its thinking. “If we put this device in place for the purpose of researching participants in a prohibited event (i.e. a 4th class fine), it seems totally disproportionate to make such an attack on freedoms! For a simple 4th class fine!”

The League also notes that in the case of violence committed against the police, “it’s different”. It is necessary, according to her, to question “the skill required to perform this type of coding”. Nathalie Tehio insists: “I ask the question: who is competent? A judicial police officer (OPJ), as in a search? Except that in maintaining order, those who are OPJ lose their competence.”

She also questions how “the coder”. “Is it done via tear gas, via a water cannon in which we put the product? It is then totally indiscriminate. Everyone is coded, the gendarmes too! I think that we are above all looking for to prevent demonstrations.”

Their use in demonstrations, such as that of last Saturday, remains recent.

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The communication department of the National Gendarmerie indicates that these PMCs are “forensic investigation tools”, whose appeal is therefore linked to a request from the judicial authority. Their use is for “confuse people in the context of an investigation”.

The use of this type of device had already been observed during the demonstration on the Sainte-Soline site (79), on October 29, 2022, as shown by the latest images from the report below by our team.

Report: Antoine Morel, Romain Burot and Laurent Gautier, October 29, 2022 in Sainte-Soline (79).

video duration: 00h01mn50s

On November 5, 2022, an opponent of water substitution reserves, present at the Sainte Soline demonstration last Saturday and arrested in his room at the Poitiers University Hospital, was brought before the Niort public prosecutor.

©France Televisions

For the moment, justice does not confirm their use during the demonstration of March 25, 2023 in Sainte-Soline.

Their use in demonstrations was first mentioned following demonstrations of yellow vests in 2019. Christophe Castaner, the Minister of the Interior at the time, had thus indicated on France Inter that he wanted to deploy their use ( see the video in the tweet below).

The Minister thus indicated that these products make it possible to prove the presence of a person at a given place and time.

“The objective is to neutralize and bring to justice”said Christophe Castaner, on March 19, 2019.

“There are two types of markers: colored markers so that if you are marked at the time of an infraction and if you are found two hours later in the metro, it is easier to make a The others are not markers, they are called DNA, but they are not DNA type markers, they are transparent type markers, so that, a few weeks later, if the investigation is successful, and that it is you who have responsibilities, you are arrested and we will find the traces.

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