Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP
Hundreds of police have taken part in unauthorized protests across France for over a week, demonstrations that were prompted by a vicious petrol bomb attack on four officers in a Paris suburb earlier this month.
And on Wednesday night, the government appeared to have come up with some solutions to coax the officers back off the streets and back on the beat.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who had just met with President Hollande and police union heads, announced that police would get an extra €250 million in funding for improved and updated equipment.
He also proposed increased penalties for anyone insulting police, and an inquiry into the rights that police officers should have when it comes to self defense.
The minister also said France would look at making it easier for officers to wear hoods if they want to protect their identity.
A draft law is expected to be submitted before December, Cazeneuve said.
“All these measures … are aimed to make into law provisions that will protect law enforcement officers and impose the respect they deserve,” he said.
Unions responded by saying that they were glad to be getting attention, noting that the proposals were “very significant”. They added, however, that “concrete measures would have to be made quickly”.
Officers have complained in recent days that they don't feel protected by the government in the event that they are forced to use their weapon while on the job.
They've also protested against the fact that around 500 officers are injured in the line of duty each month, and that they have been working under a state of emergency for almost a year.
While many are not asking for a pay raise, some say they are sick and tired of being asked to shell out themselves for necessities like a bullet proof vest or a flashlight.
And as yet, it remains unclear if the protesting will stop. Wednesday night alone saw police protests in Le Mans, Marseille, Lyon, Nancy, Strasbourg, Nantes, Nice and Paris.
Various polls from French newspapers suggest that around 90 percent of the French public support the protests.