paris may day protests riot police probed over assault videos

Paris May Day protests: Riot police probed over ‘assault’ videos

Europe
May Day protests FranceImage copyright EPA
Image caption French riot police faced “black-block” as well as yellow-vest protesters in Paris on Wednesday

French authorities are investigating riot police over three incidents of alleged violence towards May Day protesters in Paris.

Videos taken during clashes between police and protesters have been circulating on social media.

One appears to show an officer insert a truncheon into a protester’s trousers on the Boulevard du Montparnasse.

In another an officer is seen slapping a protester while a third shows an officer hurling a paving stone.

Inspectors are investigating each incident at the request of Paris police chief Didier Lallement, reports say.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner said “there will be punishment” if any officers are found to be at fault.

He has himself faced calls to resign, after critics said he had spread “fake news” in accusing protesters of an “attack” on La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris.

What the videos show

The videos were filmed as riot police were faced with May Day protests on Wednesday that involved gilets jaunes (yellow-vest) protesters and far-left “black-block” militants as well as traditional union marchers.

Journalist David Dufresne, who has highlighted allegations of police violence since the gilets jaunes protests began last year, posted the footage on his Twitter feed.

In one video, filmed on the Boulevard du Montparnasse, a protester is surrounded on the ground by CRS riot police and one appears to insert his truncheon inside the back of his trousers.

In another incident, a man is slapped twice in the face by an officer while a woman with him is pushed around.

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