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'Where's Steve?': French police confirm body pulled from Loire is the missing music fan

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'Where's Steve?': French police confirm body pulled from Loire is the missing music fan
Divers search the Loire river in Nantes for missing Steve Maia Canico. AFP
13:51 CEST+02:00
French investigators have confirmed the identity of a 24-year-old man whose body was found in a river more than a month after a controversial intervention by riot police at a music festival, a legal source told AFP on Tuesday.

Steve Canico went missing on the night of June 21-22 after officers moved in to disperse techno music fans in the western city of Nantes, who were attending a free concert as part of France's national music celebration day.

More than a dozen concertgoers fell into the nearby Loire river during the ensuing clashes, prompting accusations of excessive force by police trying to shut the party down.

An autopsy carried out Tuesday morning on the badly decomposed corpse that was found not far from the concert site on Monday confirmed it was Canico, the source said.

Footage shared on social media showed scenes of chaos as police carrying batons moved in on the revellers by the river.

Local authorities said 14 people were subsequently rescued from the water after the clashes, with Canico's friends fearing he was swept away.

Since his disappearance, posters have been put up around Nantes demanding "Where is Steve?". 

But that question quickly morphed into a slogan for a campaign around the country to highlight police brutality particularly during the recent "yellow vest" protests.

READ ALSO: Why are people cross France demanding to know 'Where's Steve?'

AFP

 

On July 20, hundreds of protesters formed a human chain along the Loire observing a minute of silence for the missing man.

France's National Police Inspectorate - which oversees the work of the police - has launched an investigation into the actions of the police in Nantes.`

There were also questions over why local authorities had allowed the event to go ahead at an insecure riverside venue without a barrier.

French police have come under fire for their heavy-handed techniques, including at a recent peaceful climate rally in Paris and at nationwide weekly protests by anti-government "yellow vest" demonstrators.

One of the main French policing unions Alternative Police, released a statement expressing their condolences to Steve's family, and expressing the wish that an enquiry into police actions looks thoroughly into the circumstances.

The union said: "If the investigation reveals proven mistakes or breaches, it is certain that sanctions will have to be imposed in line with the seriousness of the facts. 

"On the other hand, Alternative Police says it loud and clear: if the investigation exonerates the police intervention then public personalities, politicians, groups and others who have pointed fingers and stigmatised police action, will then have to publicly make their mea culpa and apologise.
 
"The national police know how to assume their responsibilities, but their honour must also be restored when they have been unjustly criticised."
 
 
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