Outcry over teens’ roundup in France
Viral video shows students kneeling with their hands behind their backs as riot police barks orders at them
Images of dozens of high school pupils kneeling with their hands behind their heads during mass round-ups sparked an outcry on Friday as France braces for more violence at “yellow vest” protests this weekend.
Left wing politicians have expressed outrage at the videos, which have gone viral on social media, showing the teenagers kneeling as riot police barked orders at them. “Whatever wrong was done, nothing justifies this filmed humiliation of minors,” Socialist leader, Olivier Faure tweeted. “There is no need to pour even more oil on the flames.”
The students were detained on Thursday in the Paris suburb of Mantes-lajolie, in an unrest that has spread to dozens of schools during the three weeks of anti-government demonstrations. A total of 146 people were arrested outside the town’s Saint-exupery high school after protesters clashed with police and burned two cars.
Laurent Saint-martin, a senior member of the ruling Republic On The Move (LREM) party, said around 40 of the students were masked and carrying equipment to be used in vandalism and arson. But he too described the videos as “shocking”, telling Franceinfo radio, “It’s right to be angry, looking at these images.” Protests at some 280 schools against stricter university entrance requirements have added to a sense of general revolt in France as the “yellow vest” protests rumble on.
High school students re-enact Thursday’s student arrest in Mantes-la-jolie during a demonstration at the place de la Republique in Paris, on Friday