Sunday 8 December 2019

Paris riots escalate over death of young activist

A demonstrator dressed as an angel faces French riot police officers during a rally in Marseille, October 31, 2014.
A demonstrator dressed as an angel faces French riot police officers during a rally in Marseille, October 31, 2014.
Demonstrators hold a banner during a rally in Marseille, October 31, 2014. People gathered to pay tribute to Remi Fraisse, a 21-year-old demonstrator found dead last weekend after a rally against the Sivens dam. The banner reads, "Police Kill. We take to the Streets"

John Lichfield

Hard-left and anarchist demonstrators clashed with French riot police for a second day in protest at the death of a young green activist who was struck by a police stun grenade last weekend.

In running battles during an unauthorised demonstration in eastern Paris yesterday afternoon and last night, 66 young protesters were arrested for attacking police and possession of offensive weapons.

In Nantes and Toulouse more than 30 activists were arrested and six policemen injured on Saturday. Other demonstrations yesterday - including a sit-in beside the Eiffel Tower and a silent march at the scene of last week's death - passed off peacefully.

Remi Fraisse (21), a young botanist and pacifist, was protesting against the building of a dam in an unspoiled valley in south-western France eight days ago when a police stun grenade exploded behind his back.

His death - the first in a political demonstration in France for many years - has caused widespread consternation and has become a cause celebre for French hard-left and green activists.

Radical protesters and some mainstream green politicians have blamed the young man's death on the allegedly "authoritarian" and right-leaning policies of the reformist, Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

When protesters attacked buildings and hurled molotov cocktails and acid at riot police in Nantes on Saturday, Mr Valls attempted to turn the tables.

He accused the protesters of "dirtying" the memory of the young victim who was not just a "militant ecologist" but also a "convinced pacifist".

Irish Independent

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