French govern­ment de­fends hea­vy-hand­ed po­li­ce tac­tics against stu­dents

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

FRAN­CE - Fran­ce’s govern­ment yes­ter­day de­fen­ded the tac­tics of ri­ot po­li­ce who for­ced se­ve­r­al do­zen de­tai­ned high-school stu­dents to kneel in rows with their hands held be­hind their heads or in hand­cuffs af­ter vi­o­lent pro­tests west of Pa­ris.

Stu­dents this week ha­ve been bloc­king ac­cess to sco­res of high schools across Fran­ce in pro­test at Pre­si­dent Em­ma­nu­el Ma­cron’s edu­ca­ti­on re­forms, just as the 40-year-old lea­der grap­ples with so­me­ti­mes­vi­o­lent de­mon­stra­ti­ons over li­ving costs.

Vi­deos and pho­tos of the stu­dents from two high schools in Val Four­re, a de­pri­ved neigh­bor­hood out­si­de Man­tes-LaJo­lie, 60 ki­lo­me­ters west of Pa­ris, went vi­ral on so­ci­al me­dia la­te on Thurs­day, promp­ting pu­blic ou­t­ra­ge.

“Over the past few days, the stu­dents ha­ve been joi­ned by about 100 hood­ed youths ar­med with clubs and in­cen­di­a­ry de­vi­ces and de­ter­mi­ned to pick a fight with po­li­ce,” In­te­ri­or Mi­nis­ter Chris­top­he Cas­ta­ner told a news con­fe­ren­ce.

Cas­ta­ner said road­blocks had been set alight, pro­jec­ti­les hur­led at mo­to­rists and hou­ses rob­bed in the area around the two schools.

“It is in this con­text that the se­cu­ri­ty for­ces step­ped in,” the mi­nis­ter ad­ded. No stu­dents we­re in­ju­red whi­le de­tai­ned in the Val Four­re in­ci­dent, French me­dia re­por­ted.

But so­me so­ci­al me­dia users said the sce­ne, with so­me of the teen­a­gers li­ned up fa­cing a wall, re­sem­b­led a mock mas­sexe­cu­ti­on.

“Can an­y­o­ne tell me if they’ve wit­nes­sed such a thing in the last 50 ye­ars,” one Twit­ter user said. Ano­ther tweet read: “The­se ima­ges of teen­a­gers on their knees at the feet of CRS (ri­ot po­li­ce) are un­wort­hy of a de­mo­cra­cy. The govern­ment needs to ta­ke char­ge and re-es­ta­blish chains of com­mand.”

Edu­ca­ti­on Mi­nis­ter Je­anMi­chel Blan­quer de­scri­bed the ima­ges as “shoc­king” but said the vi­o­len­ce con­vulsing Fran­ce in re­cent weeks jus­ti­fied the hea­vy­hand­ed po­li­cing.

Fran­ce is hun­ke­ring down for ano­ther wave of po­ten­ti­al­ly vi­o­lent pro­tests on Sa­tur­day as Ma­cron strug­gles to quell pu­blic an­ger at the cost of li­ving. Se­ni­or al­lies said he would ad­dress the na­ti­on ear­ly next week.

(Reu­ters)

A trash bin burns as youths and high school stu­dents at­tend a de­mon­stra­ti­on. (Pho­to: WSAU)

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