The Europe Peace Foundation is deeply concerned about the abusive and harmful use of tear gas as a crowd control method during protests.
Tear gas, despite being commonly employed by law enforcement agencies, poses significant risks to the physical and mental well-being of protesters.
First and foremost, tear gas is indiscriminate in its impact, affecting not only those directly involved in protests but also bystanders, including innocent civilians, children, and vulnerable individuals. Its use often leads to the escalation of tensions and can exacerbate violence rather than de-escalate it, thus undermining the very purpose of maintaining public order.
Exposure to tear gas can result in respiratory difficulties, eye irritation, vomiting, skin burns, and in extreme cases, even death.
These effects disproportionately impact individuals with underlying health conditions, the elderly, and those with respiratory ailments, making it an indiscriminate weapon that violates the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination.
It creates an environment of fear, anxiety, and trauma, leading to long-lasting psychological distress among protesters. This can deter individuals from exercising their right to peaceful assembly, limiting their ability to express their grievances and participate in democratic processes.
The Europe Peace Foundation strongly believes in the importance of respecting and protecting the fundamental human rights of individuals, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
We urge governments and law enforcement agencies to adopt non-violent and more humane methods of crowd control, focusing on dialogue, de-escalation, and respect for human rights.
The Europe Peace Foundation stands firmly against the abusive and harmful use of tear gas during protests. We call upon governments and law enforcement agencies to review their crowd control strategies, seeking alternative methods that promote dialogue, respect human rights, and foster an environment of peaceful coexistence. Together, we can work towards a society where protests are met with understanding and where the rights and dignity of all individuals are upheld.