AGI – About forty people attacked and besieged a police station outside Paris yesterday night. They used iron bars and fireworks, thrown as mortars at the building. A serious action that prompted new demands for tougher action by the government after a series of attacks on French security forces.
Two officers were on a cigarette break outside the Champigny sur Marne police station, about 12 kilometers east of the capital, just before midnight when the attackers suddenly gathered and went into action. The agents barely barricaded themselves inside as crowds began attacking the entrance and several police vehicles, while others launched a barrage of powerful fireworks at the building. Nobody was hurt.
In the following hours, a person was arrested in the city center, believed to be among the perpetrators, but then exonerated by the prosecutor who is examining the surveillance footage. The mayor of the city, Laurent Jeanne, explained that the police may have been targeted in retaliation after a recent accident with a scooter, presumably caused by the police, which however “has not been proven”.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted that “these petty drug dealers scare no one and will not discourage our drug work“, although the police officials have not yet identified the attackers. Although the mayor has recognized the problem of drug trafficking in the Bois L’Abbe neighborhood, where the police station is located.
Darmanin’s office announced that on Tuesday it will meet with police unions, which have been pushing for concrete measures to improve working conditions for months. They said that the attack near Paris highlighted a growing threat against law enforcement in the depressed suburbs of the capital and other large cities.
Tensions have long been high in these densely populated and often poor areas, where large immigrant communities have long complained about police brutality and racism. On Wednesday two police officers were attacked and shot with their weapons in a suburb of Paris. On the night between Friday and Saturday, a very similar attack occurred in a police station in Le Mans.
“There is no longer any respect for the police, and unfortunately the government has not been able to change this trend”, denounced Frederic Lagache, of the Alliance police union. “They are literally scenes of war,” Valerie Pecresse, right-wing leader of the Ile de France region that includes Paris, told BFM television while visiting Champigny station. “The Minister of the Interior must increase the number of agents in the neighborhoods hardest hit by organized crime“, he added.
Several other police stations across France have been targeted in similar fireworks attacks this year, and Champigny sur Marne station had already been hit by young people wielding fireworks last April. “But they were just kids protesting during the lockdown” imposed to curb the coronavirus, said Mayor Jeanne. “Today we are facing something completely different, they wanted to injure two officers,” he added.