French police face probe after video emerges of Paris protest clashes

French prosecutors have launched a probe into alleged police violence after a video emerged that appeared to show an officer firing point-blank at protesters with a riot control gun at a Paris march backing strikes.

French police face probe after video emerges of Paris protest clashes

The video, widely distributed on social media, shows police in riot gear beating protesters with batons as one officer walks right up to the group with a riot gun, after which a marcher is seen tumbling to the ground.

In the video, several protesters are left sprawling on the ground in the aftermath of the police advance on the protest in Paris.


The Paris prosecutor’s office said an investigation had been opened into violence committed by a person holding public authority.

The probe has been entrusted to the IGPN, the police oversight body. In a statement to AFP, Paris police described the video “fragmentary and out of context.”

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“The police and gendarmes were attacked by violent people and retaliated with… tear gas and defensive bullet launchers,” it said.

The defensive bullet launchers are anti-riot guns used by French police, known as LBDs in France. They fire non-lethal 40-millimetre rubber balls.

In a tweet on Friday, the police department said its officers were confronted Thursday by “hostile and threatening groups” and targeted by projectiles thrown at them.

Twenty-seven people were arrested, the police said, adding 16 of its members were hurt in the confrontations. There has been no complaint from any protester hit by a rubber bullet, said the police.

The LBD gun has been blamed for several protesters losing an eye during weekly, anti-government “yellow vest” protests which started more than a year ago and have often turned violent.

The IGPN is investigating 212 cases of alleged police brutality during yellow vest protests. 

Social media has become an important tool for protesters seeking to spread awareness of police misconduct, with several videos showing alleged violent incidents from across the country.  

Member comments

  1. Should have been using live rounds. That would have given them something to complain about.

    What about an investigation into all the lost trade and looting of shops. Of course if one is in business you are automatically wealthy so no one give a damn.

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Fluffy nuisance: Outcry as Paris sends Invalides rabbits into exile

Efforts to relocate wild rabbits that are a common sight on the lawns of the historic Invalides memorial complex have provoked criticism from animal rights groups.

Fluffy nuisance: Outcry as Paris sends Invalides rabbits into exile

Tourists and Parisians have long been accustomed to the sight of wild rabbits frolicking around the lawns of Les Invalides, one of the French capital’s great landmarks.

But efforts are underway to relocate the fluffy animals, accused of damaging the gardens and drains around the giant edifice that houses Napoleon’s tomb, authorities said.

Police said that several dozen bunnies had been captured since late January and relocated to the private estate of Breau in the Seine-et-Marne region outside Paris, a move that has prompted an outcry from animal rights activists.

“Two operations have taken place since 25 January,” the police prefecture told AFP.

“Twenty-four healthy rabbits were captured on each occasion and released after vaccination” in Seine-et-Marne, the prefecture said.

Six more operations are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

Around 300 wild rabbits live around Les Invalides, according to estimates.

“The overpopulation on the site is leading to deteriorating living conditions and health risks,” the prefecture said.

Authorities estimate the cost of restoring the site, which has been damaged by the proliferation of underground galleries and the deterioration of gardens, pipes and flora, at €366,000.

Animal rights groups denounced the operation.

The Paris Animaux Zoopolis group said the rabbits were being subjected to “intense stress” or could be killed “under the guise of relocation”.

“A number of rabbits will die during capture and potentially during transport,” said the group, accusing authorities of being “opaque” about their methods.

The animal rights group also noted that Breau was home to the headquarters of the Seine-et-Marne hunting federation.

The police prefecture insisted that the animals would not be hunted.

In 2021, authorities classified the rabbits living in Paris as a nuisance but the order was reversed following an outcry from animal groups who have been pushing for a peaceful cohabitation with the animals.