A protest in Paris against police brutality took a violent and chaotic turn, with a police vehicle becoming the focal point of aggression.
The French government swiftly condemned what it termed “unacceptable violence” at the demonstration, which was predominantly led by the hard-left factions.
The nationwide protest, occurring approximately three months after a shocking point-blank shooting by a policeman of a young individual during a traffic check outside Paris, reignited tensions and led to over a week of rioting in the city and other parts of the country.
Amidst the thousands who gathered for the protest in Paris, a group dressed in black and hooded attire broke away from the main march. Their actions took a destructive turn as they targeted a bank branch, shattering its windows, and directed their fury towards a police vehicle trapped in traffic.
According to reports from an AFP correspondent, the police car was viciously attacked with a crowbar, leaving officers confined inside. Only the timely intervention of an anti-riot police unit allowed for the release of the besieged vehicle.
A video later surfaced, widely shared on the internet via the BFMTV channel, capturing the harrowing scene. Masked protesters were seen relentlessly pursuing the car, repeatedly kicking it, while one individual used a crowbar to shatter one of its windows. An officer emerged from the vehicle, brandishing his service weapon, though he refrained from discharging it and returned to the car.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin expressed his dismay on social media, stating, “We see where anti-police hatred leads,” as he denounced the “unacceptable violence” against the police.
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez reported that three individuals had been apprehended in connection with the incident.
Estimates of the protest’s size varied, with unions suggesting that around 80,000 people were expected to participate across France, answering the call from radical left-wing groups, including the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party. However, police authorities put the number of participants at 13,800.