Protests turn violent in France as elections approach

Peaceful Assembly

In February 2017, several police officers faced charges of assaulting and raping a young black man from a Paris suburb during a violent arrest. The cases against the police sparked protests, mostly by young people, in Paris and its suburbs. While most of the demonstrations were peaceful, there was some destruction reported as cars were set on fire, garbage bins burned and property damaged. There were also reports that tear gas was used against the protesters and some were detained. The police advised the public against taking part in the unauthorised protests. Such demonstrations represent growing concern over a number of cases involving police officers accused of assault. 

An increasingly hard-fought presidential election campaign in France has also led to social tensions, protests and sporadic violence. On 27th February 2017 in Nantes, during a Marine Le Pen rally, approximately 2,000 people turned out to protest against Le Pen and her party. Demonstrators clashed with the police and local businesses were damaged.