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Spontaneous French police protests spread amid anger

After Monday night’s unauthorized protest on the Avenue Champs-Elysées in Paris, it was the turn of officers in Marseille, Nice, Evry and other towns across France to demonstrate their anger on Tuesday.

Police in France say they are at breaking point with the country having been in a state of emergency for nearly a year following jihadist terror attacks in Paris last November.

The pressure they are under has been exacerbated by recent incidents of violence against officers, notably in Viry-Chatillon near Paris this month when four officers came under attack from youths hurling petrol bombs.

Dozens of officers demonstrated outside a Paris hospital on Tuesday night, where one of those officers seriously injured in the petrol bomb attack is still being treated.

“We want to fight against the trivialisation of violence against the police,” one police officer in Nice told the Nice Matin newspaper.

“We want to be heard by our hierarchy and by the judiciary. If we become victims ourselves, who will protect the public?

“We are under huge demand, but younger colleagues are being discouraged.”

Another police officer told the LCI news site: “We don’t feel safe anymore so the French people don’t either.”

In Evry to the south of Paris around 400 officers demonstrated in front of the main police headquarters and were seen jeering their police chief as he left in a car. Officers sang the Marseillaise and chanted “resign” (démission).

In Marseille around 100 officers staged a demonstration in the Old Port whilst their blue lights flashed on their police vehicles.

“Demonstrating with lights flashing on their police cars is not consistent with police ethics of the French Republic,” said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, before adding that he “understood their exasperation.”

As for the French police chief Jean-Marc Falcone, he announced that an investigation would be launched into the unauthorised protest on the Champs-Elysées.

(Police protest outside Hospital St Louis in Paris where their injured colleague receives treatment. AFP)

Falcone said the protests were “unacceptable behaviour” and that they “weakened the national police”.

But a police officer protesting in Evry said: “Our hierarchy doesn’t understand the malaise of officers.”

While some unions have urged police to return to work and end the protests, another has called for a nationwide protest next Wednesday.

There have also been calls for urgent talks to be held with the justice minister and the minister of interior. 

Article source: https://www.thelocal.fr/20161019/spontaneous-french-police-protests-spread-as-malaise-grows