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.

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

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.






Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”