French police officers have held another night of demonstrations to vent their anger at increasing workload, outdated equipment and regulations restricting their self-defense ability.
Carrying national flags and signs such as “France
… Your police is very sick,” protesters took to the streets of the city of Versailles on Friday to express their dissatisfaction with the situation.
The event was part of a nationwide movement organized by police unions against working conditions under the almost year-old state of emergency in the European country.
The movement, dubbed “The March of anger,” also urges better resources and finances as well as a change in rules for police officers to defend themselves.
“We are fed up with … being seen as bad by the hierarchy or population. People have to understand that behind the uniform there are men and women. We are here to be respected and to protect the people,” said an officer identified as Fred.
Police discontent was fueled by the October 8 incident in Viry-Chatillon near Paris, where a gang petrol-bombed four police officers in a patrol car.
Police say assailants tried to prevent the officers from getting out of the burning vehicle. Two of the four were seriously injured while one suffered life-threatening burns.
The photo taken on October 8, 2016 shows a police vehicle that was burned in gang attack in Viry-Chatillon. (Photo by AFP)
“Our colleagues have been burned in their cars. What will happen after this? They will do one year in jail and be released. … We want to be recognized and defended when we are assaulted,” said another police officer identified as Michel.
Some 90 percent of French citizens support police protests, according to a recent survey published by the French daily Le Figaro.
Protesters have complained of exhaustion after months of being on alert in a bid to tackle terror threats as well as demonstrations that have often descended into violence.
Thousands of police officers and soldiers have been deployed to guard airports, train stations and other public places in response to a spate of terrorist attacks that have killed more than 230 people across France over the past two years.