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Riot police clear demonstrators from a street in Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014. Police in Ferguson fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters late on Wednesday, on the fourth night of demonstrations over the fatal shooting last weekend
Ferguson, Missouri. USA.
Pretty fucking astounding. The tear gas used against protestors in Ferguson (and in protests going back decades) has been banned in warfare by international treaty. A treaty the U.S. has signed.
Despite its ubiquity across the globe and in United States, tear gas is a chemical agent banned in warfare per the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, which set forth agreements signed by nearly every nation in the world—including the United States. The catch, however, is that while it’s illegal in war, it’s legal in domestic riot control. That means Turkey got to use it on its protesters last year. That meant Bahrain got to the do the same. And now, in Ferguson, cops are likewise blasting residents protesting the police for the killing of an unarmed teen named Michael Brown.

“I was just trying to get to my sister’s house,” one 23-year-old sobbed on his lawn, according to this harrowing report by The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, who was arrested by police Wednesday. The man said police had pelted him with rubber bullets and sprayed his face with tear gas.

What happens to people when it's used as indiscriminately as it appears to be in Ferguson, like at people standing in their own backyards? That's not clear. "[W]e don't know much about the long-term effects, especially in civilian exposure with kids or elderly or people in the street who might have some kind of lung disease already. There's very few follow-up studies. These are very active chemicals that can cause quite significant injury."

If the U.S. says it's illegal to use this gas in war, why the hell are the cops free to use it against U.S. citizens?

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Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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