French interior minister wants to restrict sale of fireworks after attack on Paris police station

French interior minister wants to restrict sale of fireworks after attack on Paris police station
Riot police at the police station in Champigny-sur-Marne on Sunday. Phot: AFP
France's interior minister says he intends to table a new law to restrict the sale of fireworks after a Paris police station was attacked over the weekend.

The police station in Champigny-sur-Marne in the greater Paris region was attacked by a mob of about 40 people armed with metal bars and fireworks in the early hours of Sunday morning.

 

Now interior minister Gérald Darmanin says he wants to restrict the sale of mortiers d'artifice – large rockets intended for professional firework displays – to the general public.

He said: “I hope that in the next bill that arrives in parliament on November 19th, we can define these types of fireworks as a weapon.

“They can hurt, they can kill, and we must stop this sale on the internet, this sale that is not intended for non-professionals, and penalise it.”

The mortiers d'artifice are designed to be planted in the ground and fired upwards, but can be pointed towards someone and used as a weapon. Buying one already requires a licence for a professional fireworks display organiser, but they are widely available on the internet.

Attacks with fireworks are becoming common in France, and police stations in Les Mureaux, Fontenay-le-Fleury and Plaisir in the Yvelines département of the greater Paris Île-de-France region were targeted in this way in July.

It is part of a rising tide of tension between the police and local communities, which includes several cases of alleged police brutality.

The attack at Champigny-sur-Marne was apparently in response to a police check on a scooter driver, the local mayor told French media.

Last week prosecutors recommended that police officers stand trial over the Affaire Théo – a notorious brutality case from 2017 in which a youth worker was allegedly raped by a police baton.

 


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