French police protest against chokehold ban

Police staged protests in many cities across France on Friday against a ban on chokehold restraint techniques imposed by the government in response to public anger over the death of George Floyd, news wires reported. The protests followed a meeting between police unions and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner meant to try to calm the simmering police anger, Reuters reported.

In Paris, police unions parked dozens of vehicles at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe before processing down the Champs Elysees boulevard. One van carried a poster reading “No police, no peace”. Another carried graphic images of injuries sustained by police officers attacked in the line of duty, with the words: “Who is massacring who?”.

The unions told the minister the chokehold saved lives and was a technique that officers needed at their disposal until a suitable alternative was found. “The second thing we told him was to stop buying social peace where we appease a certain part of the population at the expense of the police,” Fabien Vanhemelryck of the National Police Alliance told reporters. “The police are not responsible for all the evils of society.”

In the Paris suburb of Bobigny late on Thursday evening, officers lined up outside the police station and threw their handcuffs to the ground. In Lyon, police parked their cars around the central Place Bellecour, blue lights flashing. Accusations of brutality and racism against French police remain largely unaddressed, rights groups say.

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