French police face probe after video emerges of Paris protest clashes

French police face probe after video emerges of Paris protest clashes
Picture: PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP
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.

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.”

READ: Paris set for weekend of protests and travel disruption as talks fail to break pension deadlock

“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

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.

  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.

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.