French police face probe after video emerges of Paris protest clashes

French prosecutors have launched a probe into alleged police violence after a video emerged that appeared to show an officer firing point-blank at protesters with a riot control gun at a Paris march backing strikes.

French police face probe after video emerges of Paris protest clashes

The video, widely distributed on social media, shows police in riot gear beating protesters with batons as one officer walks right up to the group with a riot gun, after which a marcher is seen tumbling to the ground.

In the video, several protesters are left sprawling on the ground in the aftermath of the police advance on the protest in Paris.


The Paris prosecutor’s office said an investigation had been opened into violence committed by a person holding public authority.

The probe has been entrusted to the IGPN, the police oversight body. In a statement to AFP, Paris police described the video “fragmentary and out of context.”

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“The police and gendarmes were attacked by violent people and retaliated with… tear gas and defensive bullet launchers,” it said.

The defensive bullet launchers are anti-riot guns used by French police, known as LBDs in France. They fire non-lethal 40-millimetre rubber balls.

In a tweet on Friday, the police department said its officers were confronted Thursday by “hostile and threatening groups” and targeted by projectiles thrown at them.

Twenty-seven people were arrested, the police said, adding 16 of its members were hurt in the confrontations. There has been no complaint from any protester hit by a rubber bullet, said the police.

The LBD gun has been blamed for several protesters losing an eye during weekly, anti-government “yellow vest” protests which started more than a year ago and have often turned violent.

The IGPN is investigating 212 cases of alleged police brutality during yellow vest protests. 

Social media has become an important tool for protesters seeking to spread awareness of police misconduct, with several videos showing alleged violent incidents from across the country.  

Member comments

  1. Should have been using live rounds. That would have given them something to complain about.

    What about an investigation into all the lost trade and looting of shops. Of course if one is in business you are automatically wealthy so no one give a damn.

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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.”