Cases of police violence during protests in France under investigation

Cases of police violence during protests in France under investigation
Fecha de publicación: 
4 April 2023
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French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in an interview on Sunday that police forces have launched at least 38 investigations on accusations of excessive use of force during the repression against popular mobilizations in the country.

According to his statements to the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, Darmanin affirmed that the internal control body of the police has initiated “36 judicial investigations” while another two corresponding to the equivalent unit in the gendarmerie corps are open.

“Our hand has never trembled towards those who dishonor their own uniform,” said the minister in the face of increased criticism for “police violence” in protests against pension reform or against the construction of a dam in the west of the country. The official recalled that 111 police officers and gendarmes were prosecuted in 2021 for “disproportionate use of force” while 101 were tried for the same reason in 2020.

In the midst of the wave of protests and the repression unleashed by the police forces in France, lawyers’ unions, left-wing parties, the Ombudsman and NGOs have warned about the excesses of police action.

The UN special rapporteur and the European Council expressed concern about the use of force by the French police.

“I understand the criticism, but I encourage their authors to come to the field instead of commenting on extracts from videos from New York or Brussels,” the minister replied in the interview.

At another point in the interview, the minister defended the security forces and accused the protesters of also resorting to violent acts against the forces of order.

The official especially highlighted the protests over the construction of a dam in Sainte-Soline, which led to a pitched battle. “In Sainte-Soline, as in certain wild demonstrations, it’s not about maintaining order, it’s about guerrilla warfare,” the minister said.

Darmanin assured that 1,093 security agents have been injured since March 16 and reaffirmed his “total support for the police and gendarmes in the face of the violence they suffer; no to the intellectual terrorism of the extreme left that wants us to believe that the thug is the one attacked and the police the aggressor”.

In his profile on Twitter, Darmanin published that “this week two new measures come into force to better recognize the work of the police: revaluation of the judicial body, since the OPJ premium increases to 1,500 euros per year and the extension of the nocturnal bonus for the canine units”.

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