//
you're reading...
France

French riots and police violence

Anyone hearing about the riots in the northern French city of Amiens on Monday could be forgiven for thinking that they came out of nowhere.

Yet a report published just seven weeks ago by the country’s newly created post of Defender of Rights, Dominique Baudis, found persistent reports of police violence, from systematic handcuffing, insults, beatings and sometimes fatal incidents.

The 2011 report of Ombudsman Baudis, whose remit also includes discrimination and the protection of children, showed that the overall number of complaints fell more than 3%. But complaints about the conduct of the forces of law and order doubled ( +96% )

This huge increase is part due to changes that have boosted the ease of reporting incidents. Nevertheless the rise is notable.

In Amiens violence broke out between locals  and the police following a check on a driver said to be driving dangerously, near to the spot where the family and friends of a 20-year-old who died in a motorbike crash on Thursday had gathered for a memorial ceremony, French media reported. As the unrest grew police let rip with teargas and rubber bullets as reinforcements arrived from neighbouring areas. Some 100 or so youths set fire to cars,  a youth centre , and a nursery school, and fired buckshot and threw projectiles at police officers, it was reported. Seventeen officers were injured.

There had been unrest among youths on housing estates in Amiens-Nord earlier this month, apparently triggered by resentment over spot checks by police on residents.

In previous riots in French suburbs at least since the early 1980s, the trigger was heavy handed policing and police violence. In 2005, riots followed the deaths of Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna, who were electrocuted as they fled from police in Clichy-sous-Bois. In 2007, riots broke out when two youths from Villiers-le-Bel, a Paris suburb, died in a collision with a police car.

Unlike other countries like the US or Canada, there are no centrally collected figures in France of civilian deaths following police actions.

The Ombudsman’s figures show police actions have led to an average of two deaths of members of the public a year since 2002, but this underestimates the true numbers, as not all the relatives of those who died at the hands of the police report the incident to the Ombudsman and police responsibility isn’t always implied such as when there is a suicide in police custody, drowning or electric shock to people pursued by the police, death  as a result of violent arrest where police used Taser, Flash-ball or dangerous restraint techniques.

The most recent figures form the Council of Europe showed that in in 2004 there were 13 cases of police violence that allegedly provoked fatal injuries and 15 cases in 2005.

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

DATA

Anti-social Europe in numbers

WAGES SLIDE

Key facts and figures on wages across the EU

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures

RADICAL VOICES

A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.

550 days, 29 Workers, Zero Job Losses

How a few determined Italian women stopped their factory closing and protected their livelihoods

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list

SANTA DRAGHI’S COMING

Private banks receive half-trillion-euro gift from ECB

POPULAR FIGHTBACK

Workers and citizens stand up for themselves

FLORENCE’S BUS LUMACA

Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Popular resistance delivers results

Lessons from the victory against Madrid privatisation plan

FRENCH FACTORY OCCUPATION

Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France

RSS Fight discrimination in Europe – Amnesty Int’l

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

in Italy the home is a very dangerous place to be

LABOUR RIGHTS

Follow Revolting Europe on WordPress.com

Subjects

EUROPE NEEDS A CITIZENS’ REVOLUTION

Read the statement by Lafontaine and Melenchon

The Troika in Portugal – Three Years On

A success story?

THE EURO

The Dossier

FRANCE

GERMANY

GREECE

ITALY

PORTUGAL

SPAIN