FRANCE has vowed to crackdown on “violent ghettos” after shocking video footage emerged of a policewoman being beaten on New Year’s Eve.
A third officer was beaten up Monday while trying to inspect a stolen scooter inside a sprawling housing estate in the suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.
President Emmanuel Macron branded the assault “a cowardly and criminal lynching”, while more than 1,000 cars were burned across France on New Year’s Eve – a ritual for youths living in deprived high-rise suburbs.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday: “This violent society cannot continue in the years to come. It must be stopped.”
Officers had been called to clear a crowd of 300 or 400 people attempting to see in 2018 at a warehouse party in Champigny-sur-Marne.
They fired tear gas after “a group of particularly violent individuals laid into the police,” local security chief Jean-Yves Oses said, with revellers beating and kicking two officers.
Videos of the policewoman writhing on the floor as she is kicked by the crowd, as well as revellers flipping over a car, have gone viral on social media.
Two people were detained on suspicion of vandalism, but no one has been arrested for attacking the police. Macron vowed that the culprits would be “found and punished”.
On Tuesday evening around 70 supporters of the group “Angry Women of the Security Forces” demonstrated at the Trocadero in Paris.
Perrine Salle, spokesperson for the association, told AFP: “We want to support the wounded police and their relatives and are calling out for policies on the growing evil against the police and hatred of the uniform.”
Elsewhere, dozens of police officers gathered in the French towns and cities of Lille, Saint-Etienne, Grenoble, Toulouse, Carcassonne and Bordeaux.
A total of 1,031 cars were torched across France as the country welcomed the New Year — up from 935 a year ago — while arrests rose from 456 to 510, according to the interior ministry.
Collomb said reforms were needed to improve lives in “pauperised, ghettoised” French suburbs, which have long suffered a reputation for violence and poverty.
“These are neighbourhoods that must change,” Collomb said, ahead of new pilot schemes in local policing set to begin next month following a large-scale consultation with security forces.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged reforms to laws governing police officers’ right to self-defence, blasting “insecurity that sometimes comes close to that of urban guerillas” in tough neighbourhoods.
Macron set out a raft of policies to fight poverty in downtrodden districts in November after critics labelled him a “president of the rich” due to his generous tax cuts for high earners.
He reached out to the poor again in his New Year’s message, promising a “grand social project” in 2018.