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.
VAL-DE-MARNE : Le commissariat de Champigny-sur-Marne a été attaqué cette nuit par des dizaines d'individus, à coups de barres de fer et de tirs de mortier d’artifice. Cinq véhicules ont été dégradés et des fenêtres brisées (Europe 1).pic.twitter.com/fcr8dT5XxP
— Infos Françaises (@InfosFrancaises) October 11, 2020
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.