Monday 21 August 2017

WATCH: Eyewitness footage shows moment priest is dragged along church floor amid clashes with police in Paris

Members of a private security agency stand in front of a barrier with an inscription which translates as
Members of a private security agency stand in front of a barrier with an inscription which translates as "In France, priests are killed and churchs are demolished" as they block the access to the Sainte-Rita church in Paris on August 3, 2016 following the evacuation of people gathered to protest against its demolition. Photo: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images
A person holds a banner picturing Sainte-Rita as other stand in front of barriers blocking the access to the sainte-Rita church in Paris with an inscription on it which translates as In France, priests are killed and churchs are demolished", on August 3, 2016 following the evacuation of people protesting against its demolition. Photo: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)

Meadhbh McGrath

A priest was seen dragged from the church as the police quashed a sit-in protest against the demolition of the Catholic Church of St Rita, in Paris, Wednesday.

The demolition of the church has ignited public outrage after it was announced that a parking lot is to be built in its place.

The St Rita church has been closed for more than a year, but news of the impending destruction inspired a sit-in protest, as local residents gathered inside the church.

The footage shows police forcibly removing protestors, including a number of priests, from the church.

In the clip, the crowd can be seen assembling at the back of the church, while one of the priests lies face-down on the ground.

Police grab hold of the priest's arms and proceed to drag him down the aisle, until they reach a step.

The priest eventually gets to his feet and is escorted out of the church, followed by the rest of the worshippers.

Le Figaro reports that about 30 people in total were removed by police.

A person holds a banner picturing Sainte-Rita as other stand in front of barriers blocking the access to the sainte-Rita church in Paris with an inscription on it which translates as In France, priests are killed and churchs are demolished
A person holds a banner picturing Sainte-Rita as other stand in front of barriers blocking the access to the sainte-Rita church in Paris with an inscription on it which translates as In France, priests are killed and churchs are demolished", on August 3, 2016 following the evacuation of people protesting against its demolition. Photo: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)

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