Gang of 15 ambushes Alsace policeman

An off-duty police officer in southern Alsace was seriously injured after being attacked by a gang of around 15 masked men early Sunday morning.

The 37-year-old policeman was returning to his car after spending the evening with friends in Kingersheim, north of Mulhouse, according to press reports.

The Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace said on its website that the man was beaten up and placed in his car, which the group then attempted set on fire.

The officer received head injuries and burns to his hands, the newspaper said, adding that the attack had all the appearances of a planned ambush.

The police union Alliance issued a statement saying the victim was clearly singled out for his role as an officer, even though he was off duty.
“The circumstances of this aggression do not leave any doubt about the fact he was targeted in his capacity as a policeman,” the union said.    

“Our colleague was adamant, they cried “dirty cop” while they were attacking him,” a spokesman for the union, Michel Corriaux, is quoted as saying.

The policeman suffered “multiple bloody wounds to the face as well as a facial fracture, Alliance said.

The culprits have yet to be tracked down.

The union noted that the incident marked the latest in a series of attacks on officers in the Upper Rhine region of France.

It called for the “setting in motion of all the means to identify, arrest and bring to justice the authors of this criminal act”.

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Alsace: 83 percent of Alsatians back return of their historical region

Two years after it became part of the Grand Est, a whopping 83 percent of Alsatians -- known for being fiercely proud of their cultural identity -- want Alsace to regain its regional status, a new survey reveals.

Alsace: 83 percent of Alsatians back return of their historical region
Hundreds of people demonstrate holding Alsatian regional flags against the government regional reform. Photo: AFP
However a recent study carried out by French think tank Ifop revealed that 83 percent of Alsatians want Alsace to regain its old regional status. 
The poll which was commissioned by several cultural institutes based in the historical region surveyed 1,002 people on several questions concerning the future of the region.
And according to the survey, the results of which were unveiled on Tuesday, the Alsatians haven't quite got used to the change. 
In fact, 55 percent of them believe that it was a “bad thing” to have happened to the region on top of the 83 percent who want a return to the way things were.  
The results are almost identical to those of a poll conducted in May 2017 which showed that 84 percent of Alsatians wanted the return of their region.
In total, 82 percent of respondents also want a referendum or popular consultation on the 're-birth' of the Alsace region and one regional organisation has proposed that this could take place during the 2019 European elections. 
The overwhelming support for the referendum should perhaps come as no surprise to those who were in France to witness the regional reorganisation two years ago. 
At the time, MPs in Alsace were particularly vocal against the proposal.
“In what kind of society can you marry people against their will,” said the representative for the once-Alsatian Haut-Rhin department, Jean-Luc Reitzer.
Thousands of Alsaciens joined street protests to voice their anger over the reform, some carrying banners saying “We won't mix choucroute with quiche”, referring to the two local dishes from Alsace and Lorraine.
When the map was drafted, Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries made it clear he would not accept it if Strasbourg, the seat of the European parliament, lost its status as regional capital when merged with other regions.
In the end he got his way, much to the anger of deputies from Champagne-Ardenne.