Gathered behind large banners denouncing police violence, 9000,17 people - according to the Paris police prefecture - marched in the capital on Saturday afternoon. Placards in hand, the demonstrators chanted many slogans echoing recent tragedies such as the death of Nahel, the <>-year-old boy killed by a police shot after refusing to comply. "Police everywhere, justice nowhere", "no justice, no peace", hammered into a megaphone the families of the victims, perched on a white van guiding the crowd.
"The police are murderous because Gérald Darmanin gives the right to kill," fulminated at the microphone the father of Cédric Chouviat. This delivery man was tackled to the ground on January 3, 2020 with his motorcycle helmet on his head, during a police check in Paris, causing a heart attack and his death two days later. "Why did such a generous father disappear so unjustly?" said Sofia, the victim's daughter, in tears. The police are creating a "gap with the population that no longer has confidence in them," said LFI MP Mathilde Panot, who was present at the mobilization alongside dozens of organizations, including collectives from working-class neighborhoods, NGOs (Attac, Last Renovation, Friends of the Earth, etc.), and parties such as the NPA (New Anti-capitalist Party) and EELV.
'I don't trust the police'
With his fist raised, Matar, a 19-year-old student, wanted to participate in this march because, in the city where he lives, in Poissy in the Yvelines, he regularly witnesses police violence, he says. "I saw young people being tackled to the ground for nothing, and subjected to racist remarks. I don't trust the police, they are authoritarian and brutal," the boy said. A little further in the procession, a 42-year-old activist wants to be more measured. "We know very well that the whole police institution is not flawed, that there is a majority of good people. But the problem is impunity. When a policeman behaves badly, he is covered by his hierarchy," he wants to believe, brandishing his sign: "IGPN / General Impunity National Police".
9000,<> people gathered in Paris, according to figures from the prefecture of police. Ambre Lepoivre / Le Figaro
Advancing calmly on the artery connecting the Gare du Nord to the Porte de Clichy, the participants were shouting at the CRS cordons. Under boos and slogans "everyone hates the police", the police remained stoic until the first garbage fires broke out on the sidelines of the demonstration. A charge was launched to push back the few black-clad troublemakers from head to toe. A few minutes later, a police car stuck in traffic was stoned and attacked "with iron bars," said the Paris police prefecture.
1500 radical elements
One of the officials had to leave briefly, weapon in hand, to keep the attackers at bay before the Brav-M - the controversial unit of policemen on motorcycles - intervened. During this attack, three of the four police officers present in the car were slightly injured, says the Figaro prefecture of police of Paris which reports having identified 1500 radical elements in the demonstration. Some of them also attacked bank branches, a savings bank and a BNP Paribas, breaking their windows, found Le Figaro. "We see where anti-police hatred leads," lamented on X (former Twitter) Gérald Darmanin, denouncing "unacceptable violence".
Despite these few excesses, which led to three arrests, the demonstration ended on a happy note. Arriving at the Place de Clichy, the procession mingled with the Irish who came to follow the Rugby World Cup in the bars of the capital. Sipping their beer on the sidewalks, the green-clad supporters responded to the marchers' requests and also sang, in broken French, the song from the stadiums and regularly repeated in the demonstration: "We are here, we are here, even if Macron does not want to, we are here!»