In Paris, the demonstration against the draft law that would ban filming police officers, very quickly turned into a riot. In the midst of chaos, law enforcement often had to back down, sometimes leaving one of their men isolated in the middle of the angry crowd.
The scene, of incredible violence, will undoubtedly be remembered. On Saturday November 28, during the “march for freedoms” which very quickly degenerated, at least one police officer was violently lynched by the demonstrators. Ironically, the lynching of the policeman happened despite protesters claiming that they were also demonstrating against a video that had emerged of policemen beating a black music producer.
The scene, which took place around 6 pm, was filmed by Amar Taoualit, a journalist reporting images. Overwhelmed, a dozen officers tried to escape after being backed into a corner by rioters. Charged by the demonstrators, the police were then forced to break ranks and engage in hand-to-hand combat.
One of them found himself isolated, fell to the ground, and was then violently lynched by the demonstrators. Covered with beatings and insults, the man was rescued in extremis by his colleagues, before being exfiltrated.
Throughout France, in Rennes, Lille, Bordeaux and Lyon, several demonstrations were organized on Saturday afternoon against the “comprehensive security law”. In more than 60 French cities marches were held with authorities estimating the number of participants at around 150 000. In Paris, very soon after the start of the Marches des Libertés, violent clashes broke out.
In a context strained by the Michel Zecler affair, a major demonstration was organized in Paris with 46 000 people taking part, according to the Interior Ministry. It started at 3 pm, from the Place de la République to Bastille. According to Le Parisien, tensions were already high barely an hour after the departure at République.
Around 4.30 pm, street furniture was set on fire, and the police were targeted by projectiles and fireworks. The latter then responded by firing tear gas. Rioters were smashing vehicles and shop windows, torching cars and a motorcycle. “Black block” protesters were spotted early in the march, according to the regional daily. The security forces had to retreat on several occasions.
Numerous fires were reported as dozens of demonstrators began to ransack nearby businesses and a bank – behavior that even the anti-white Algerian journalist Taha Bouhafs tried to denounce. His supporters mocked and insulted him however.
In the afternoon, hundreds of demonstrators chanted to the police to commit suicide. On Twitter, the Minister of the Interior mentioned 37 injured police officers throughout France, including 23 in Paris.
At 7 pm, the evacuation of Place de la Bastille was still in progress with law enforcement deploying water cannons, in a particularly tense climate.
The Interior Ministry later revised the number of injured policemen, saying 98 police officers and gendarmes were injured, and the toll was growing.
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