End of Macron? Angry French police protest for second day as president mocked for speech

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Officers demonstrated on Friday in Paris throwing down handcuffs in front of police stations. Police union members led a march on foot and in vehicles along the Champs-Elysées, honking horns and carrying banners with slogans including: “without the police, there is no peace.”

 

It comes after French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that police will abandon the chokeholds technique stressing it will no longer be taught in police academies.

Mr Castaner, said: “No one should risk their life during an arrest” promising a “zero tolerance” policy for racism within the police.”

He stressed that “French police are not American police” adding “there are legitimate questions to be answered.”

But Philippe Capon from UNSA police union told French media: “We told (the interior minister) that his points from Monday were misplaced.”

Mr Capon said that the “chokehold technique” permitted police “to intervene” on serious arguments on a daily basis.

Yves Lefebvre of Unité SGP police union, added: “My colleagues are no longer protected, they are left in the desert by their minister,”

“So I call on my colleagues not to make arrests anymore, to stop intervening.”

It comes after weeks of demonstrations against racism and police violence against minorities in French cities following the death in police custody of George Floyd in the United States.

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Protesters have rallied in particular around the case of a young black man, Adama Traore, who died in custody in 2016 which remains under investigation.

But following the demonstrations, the French President quickly expressed support for French police in a speech to the nation yesterday.

He said fighting racism should not lead to a “hateful” re-writing of the history of France, whose empire once stretched from the Caribbean to the South Pacific and included much of north and west Africa.

He added: “I will be very clear tonight, compatriots: the Republic won’t erase any name from its history. It will forget none of its artworks, it won’t take down statues.”

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Macron also addressed the anti-racism protests that have spread to France.

He said that skin colour too often reduced a person’s opportunities in France, promising to be unflinching against all discrimination.

Mr Macron added that the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the “flaws and fragility” of France’s, and more broadly Europe’s, over-reliance on global supply chains, from the car industry to smart phones and pharmaceuticals.

He concluded by saying: “The only answer is to build a new, stronger economic model, to work and produce more, so as not to rely on others.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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