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Close to 100 arrests made at violent French demos against new security bill

Police arrested 95 people during protests across France against a planned security law, and 67 officers were injured during the demonstrations, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Sunday.

Close to 100 arrests made at violent French demos against new security bill
Protesters in Paris. Photo: AFP

In Paris, the site of the worst violence, 48 police officers or gendarmes were injured during Saturday's street clashes, the interior ministry said on Twitter.

A firefighter was also injured in the capital after being hit by a projectile, a police source said.

Paris police held 25 people, including two minors, said the prosecutors' office.

It was the second weekend of violence in the capital during protests against a security bill currently going through French parliament.

Demonstrators clashed with police, vehicles were set alight and shop windows smashed.

The weekly nationwide protests are becoming a major headache for President Emmanuel Macron's government, with tensions intensified by the beating of a black music producer by police last month.

Paris city officials and others also expressed outrage over the way police broke up an improvised migrant camp in the heart of Paris in November.

Darmanin has ordered an investigation into the incident.

The numbers demonstrating on Saturday were significantly down, with the nationwide figure at 52,350 against 133,000 a week earlier, the interior ministry said.

Around 5,000 people demonstrated in Paris against 46,000 last week, it added. A police source on Saturday blamed the violence on 400 to 500 radical elements.

There were also clashes in the eastern city of Nantes, where four officers and a gendarme were injured, one of them by a Molotov cocktail, said local officials.

There was violence, too, in the eastern city of Lyon.

READ MORE: Violence erupts in new Paris protest against security law

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POLICE

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.”

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