Chirac turns on his own men. From the Telegraph, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
After 16 nights battling urban violence by rioters, Jacques Chirac’s government is confronting angry new protests – from the police themselves.
Officers at the forefront of attempts to control the wave of riots and arson attacks across France are furious at moves to prosecute policemen accused of assaulting a youth.
As officers were deployed in force in Paris yesterday following a call on weblogs for a mass demonstration, the police union described the jailing of one officer and the suspension of others as “incomprehensible and unacceptable”.
Police officers, who have been targeted with stones, missiles and Molotov cocktails since the trouble broke out, said they were “stupefied” by the action taken against their colleagues. Alliance, the main police union, appealed to members for calm after the decision to take the first steps towards charging five police officers implicated in the assault on a youth.
State television showed images of two officers hitting and kicking a young man while six colleagues stood by watching in the northern Paris suburb of La Courneuve on Monday. One officer is being held in detention while four others are also under formal investigation.
The French interior ministry said the victim had suffered cuts to his face and right foot, but had been declared fit for work.
The case has brought to the surface growing police resentment at the failure by politicians to resolve the crisis, the most serious and protracted outbreak of violence in France since 1968.
Jean-Pierre Raymaud, the leader of another police union, told Le Figaro newspaper: “For 15 days we’ve been targeted constantly and under a lot of pressure. This isn’t an excuse but it has to be taken into account. The police have done their work and I don’t think finding one or two scapegoats just to demonstrate firmness is fair.”