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A security key on the Femen, very firm

In the foreground a Tunisian agent, in the background the European agent. The employment difference is striking (credit: Femen)
In the foreground a Tunisian agent, in the background the European agent. The difference in employment is striking (credit: Femen)

(BRUSSELS2) It was to be expected, Femen was waiting for the Tunisian Prime Minister when he left the European Commission garage on Tuesday (June 25). And as soon as the barrier was crossed, they threw themselves on the hoods of the official cars, topless and arms raised, as usual. The good old Agit-Prop revamped. The guards quickly grabbed the troublemakers and removed them. This probably wouldn't have prompted a post on this blog. Except that the attitude of some was quite disproportionate, as the photographers present pointed out to me.

A lesson… Tunisian in maintaining order

If you observe carefully, you can notice the different attitude of the guards (see on ITN ou euronews). One politely but firmly pushes one of the Femen aside. The second – a Tunisian – does the same firmly but without lingering. The behavior of the third guard (a member of the Commission's security service*) is, however, more problematic; he places a key on the young woman's neck. A dangerous hold that is normally reserved for emergencies. It was even the subject of a ban recommendation at the time from the European Commissioner for Human Rights (in 2001).

female1The Commission spokesperson I questioned does not see a problem. “ What the photo doesn't show is that the woman was fighting and struggling with the guard. In front of moving vehicles, it was essential to stop him for his own safety, and the safety of the woman” He explains. “The guard did exactly that, in a very professional manner, exactly as expected in his training. Result: no one was injured, no one was arrested » This is not the opinion of Femen who emphasize that their activist “momentarily blacked out, currently experiencing severe headache and nausea".

Comments : we may be surprised by the behavior of the guard. But blaming him like that would be easy enough. The small number of personnel present on site for an outing which is not without risks was obvious. While the security services are in large numbers to carry out routine tasks at the Commission's entry points - whose effectiveness is inversely proportional to the number - one can wonder if there is not, there, a problem of distribution of tasks and organization of the service.

(*) Unarmed (at least without a weapon visible or used, contrary to what has been claimed). On the other hand, the Tunisian guard was armed (weapon which remained in its holster). NB: the Commission's security service reports to Commissioner (Slovak) Maros Sefcovic.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).