Beleaguered French riot cops booked in same hotel as migrants they evicted

Beleaguered French riot cops booked in same hotel as migrants they evicted
French riot police were left furious after discovering they had been put up in the same hotel as the migrants whose camp they had just cleared. It comes as thousands of riot cops called in sick on Thursday to protest over working conditions and pay.

Two units of CRS riot police officers had been mobilised on Tuesday morning to evict migrants from a camp near Dunkirk in northern France. 

But in the evening some of the police were somewhat surprised and annoyed when they arrived at the Première Classe de Rouvignies to find that they were being put up in the same hotel as the people they had just booted out of the Puythouck woods near the town of Grande-Synthe. 


France clears hundreds of migrants from wood near CalaisPhoto: AFP

“Obviously it was an untenable situation for the CRS. We had to step up and find a new hotel for our colleagues,” UNSA union spokesman Christophe Canon told La Voix du Nord.

Once the priority of settling the 22 riot police concerned elsewhere for the night had been dealt with, the union said the next task was to find out “who decided to book migrants into the same hotel as the CRS,” said the representative.

“It's the first time this has happened,” he told France Info.

“If we'd known, we could have escorted the migrants directly to the hotel, rather than charter private buses to take them,” Canon added ironically. 

The complaint comes at a time when the under-pressure CRS are generally fed up with the stress of their jobs. 

On Thursday between 2,000 and 3,000 French riot police took sick leave to protest over working conditions, and particularly the government's drive to tax their transfer compensation, on a day of mass demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron's labour reforms. 

The meant around 40 companies of CRS riot cops out of a total of 60 nationwide did not turn up to work on Thursday, when authorities feared street protests would once again be marred by violence.

But the Alliance union is claiming that the move isn't about downing tools for the day, instead the police need to go to the doctors due to work-related health problems.