600 members of various European military forces recently conducted an exercise in the German North Rhine-Westphalia province to prepare for civil unrest.
European affairs spokesman for the German Government Andrej Huko said the force, a component of the European Union’s Lowlands Gendarmerie program, is preparing to shut down “political meetings” and “protests.” Hugo asked to attend the training exercise but was prevented from doing so.
He said the “militarization of the police [is]… extremely worrying and contrary in Germany to the principle of separation of police and military.”
“To have police officers on the street who are not directly under the control of the directly elected British government is frankly frightening,” said British UKIP defense spokesman Mike Hookem.
The move to form a unified military police force under the control of the EU comes as riots spread across France in response to planned labor reforms. Tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets in Paris, Rennes, Nantes, Marseille and other cities last week. Police clashed with demonstrators who threw bottles, cobblestones, and burned automobiles. 124 people were arrested across the nation.
ICYMI: Anti-labor reform protesters clashed with police in France.https://t.co/xwpWJCEKZE
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 29, 2016
The French government has announced it plans to extend a state of emergency imposed after a terrorist attack in Paris last November. Emergency measures allow police to raid homes and conduct searches without judicial oversight. The measures also forbid large gatherings and protests. Human rights groups have decried the measures, saying they restrict freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and violate privacy.
In addition to a militarized police force, the EU is working to form a European version of the FBI, “a single police and intelligence organization, working for the whole of the European Union,” according to ex-Brussels mayor Francois-Xavier de Donnea.
A study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in 2013 revealed the NSA, Britain’s GCHQ, and other intelligence organizations, including Europol and IntCen (EU Intelligence Analysis Center), have engaged in illegal surveillance across the continent. The study said surveillance in Europe is “at the core of what differentiates democratic regimes from police states.”