Are the tear gas canisters used against demonstrators in Beirut made in France?

Are the tear gas canisters used against demonstrators in Beirut made in France?

Clashes between protesters and law enforcement at Martyrs Square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday.

© Rafael Yaghobzadeh
Clashes between protesters and law enforcement at Martyrs Square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday.

This weekend took place in Beirut, a week after the explosion, several demonstrations to protest against the leaders of the country. During these, many tear gas canisters were used by the police. Among them, some were sold by French companies.

Question asked by cdespla on 08/08/2020


You are referring in your question, which we have shortened, to the comments made by the journalist Rémy Buisine, during his live on Saturday August 8 in Lebanon, where, a week after the explosion that devastated their city, many residents of Beirut were on the streets to protest against their leaders.

During his live, the journalist from Brut declared, while he accompanied the demonstrators with his phone on a ground strewn with tear gas canisters: “There are tear gas canisters everywhere. There are tools used by the police here which are very reminiscent of what can be found in France. You should know that the tear gas that is used here is tear gas that comes from France, quite simply. “

In February 2020, in fact, we were asked a similar question concerning the use of French weapons by the police in front of the Lebanese demonstrators, gathered from October 2019 to February 2020 to denounce the corruption of their leaders. Our journalist Fabien Leboucq had, at the time, concluded to the use of several tear gas or grenade launchers used by the Lebanese authorities, and manufactured by French companies.

Six months later, while Emmanuel Macron said on August 6 in Beirut want to propose “A new political pact” and ask his official contacts to “Change the system, stop the division and fight corruption”, this is always the case, as check News was able to see it again.

For example, Richard Weir, researcher and member of Human Rights Watch, took several photos of unpinning grenades, the originals of which he provided to check News, which allow to authenticate that they were taken Saturday, August 8, in Beirut, near the Place des Martyrs, where the demonstrations took place.

In the image visible above, we can see a so-called G1 tear gas canister, with a range of 200 meters. The letters “SAE” readable in the photos below refer to the full name of the armament and design company Alsetex, to which we also owe, among others, the dangerous GLI-F4 and GM2L grenades, used by French law enforcement. On other photos provided by Richard Weir, we can see two tear gas canisters: a CM6, also produced by Alsetex, and an MP7, marketed by Nobel sport security, identifiable by the acronym PB.

“Excessive and disproportionate” use

On Twitter, Amnesty International’s campaigner in Lebanon, Diala Haidar also posted several photos showing grenades, which she says were produced by French companies Alsetex and Nobel sport security. We recognize, in fact, an MP7 tear gas grenade from Nobel Sport Safety and what appears to be a CM6 from Alsetex.

She assures check News “That they were used against demonstrators on Saturday August 8” and adds that “The use of tear gas was excessive and disproportionate, affecting to a large extent peaceful participants who did not engage in acts of violence.” According to his observations, the tear gas was “Fired directly at demonstrators and from a short distance, indicating that they were used with the intent to injure.” Non-regulatory use and “Negligent” of these weapons was also pointed out to us by Wadih Al-Asmar, director of the Lebanese Center for Human Rights, who deplores “The absence of a virulent reaction from the international community, in particular from France, the supplier of these weapons”.

In addition to these pictures taken by representatives of humanitarian NGOs, check News found on social networks and authenticated several images of French ammunition used in Beirut in recent days. “Some carry the inscription 12 PB 19 or 06 PB 20, which indicates that they were produced in 2019 and 2020”, indicates to check News Maxime Reynié, photographer and journalist, law enforcement specialist. This therefore implies that they were delivered very recently.

Grenade launcher

On several videos filmed live during the events of Saturday 8 August (from 8’20 on this one), we also distinguish, as was also the case in February, the use of the grenade launcher with several cannons, mounted on vehicles of the police. Made by Alsetex, this weapon “Picks up the guns of Cougar single-shot launchers” and “Has three ramps of four guns” being able to fire piecemeal or by salvo of four or twelve grenades, we read in the article devoted to the Milipol 2011 armaments fair on the website of the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

On the video below, filmed by Russia Today, we can also distinguish (at 30’40) a small model of Cougar, the launcher used by the police in France, and also produced by Alsetex.

Contacted by check News, the French Ministry of the Interior has so far not responded to our requests. Nobel Sport Sécurité refused to answer our questions and Alsetex was “not available”.



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