French police protest violence against officers

French police protested Wednesday what they say is a surge in violence against officers that has taken place during labour reform demonstrations in recent months and left many injured.

The police union Alliance called the midday demonstration across France to ask the government to take harsher measures against violent protesters.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the police had the full support of the government, and said there had been no leniency taken with rioters.

Alliance spokesman Stanislas Gaudon told iTele that some 350 police have been injured during recent protests, one with a fractured skull. Cazeneuve, leaving a cabinet meeting, said that 1,300 protesters have been detained since the labour reform protests began.

Police demonstrating in Paris' central Place de la Republique were surrounded by on-duty officers, who dispersed a group of anti-police protesters also gathered around the plaza after a counter-demonstration was banned by the city authorities.

While the demonstration was under way, a police car outside the Place de la Republique near the Saint Martin canal was set alight. The fire was put out by firefighters.

The police protest comes against the backdrop of recent demonstrations that have seen thousands take to the streets across France over labour reforms. A small number of them have scuffled with police.

The handful of violent protesters have hurled petrol bombs and homemade projectiles at police, Gaudon said.

He added that the small number of extremists and rioters who have taken increasingly violent measures during the protests, estimated at between 200 and 300 people, were largely driven by "anti-cop hatred."

Last update: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 19:00

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