French police have marched in protest through central Paris, saying the government is denying them life-saving tools with its new ban on chokehold and chest-pinning, imposed in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.
A French police union staged a protest march from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Elysees boulevard on Friday morning, with dozens of police vehicles gathering in front of the iconic Paris landmark.
One van carried a poster showing graphic images of injuries sustained by police in the line of duty and the words: “Who is massacring who?” Another slogan asked why nobody was talking about the hate and physical assault targeting officers.
The vehicles and officers on foot moved down the boulevard. A large poster saying “No police, no peace” was carried in front of the procession.
The protest, organized by the National Police Alliance, comes in response to a decision taken earlier this week by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, which banned the use of some restraining techniques. The French police were told they could not use chokeholds during arrest or pin a suspect to the ground by pressing on their chest.
On Thursday, policemen across France threw their handcuffs to the ground in a symbolic gesture.
France is among the Western nations which have felt an aftershock of nationwide outrage over the death of George Floyd in the US. The country’s police have a long history of accusations of brutality and excessive use of force against protesters.
The march in central Paris comes a day before a planned rally against police brutality. Police fear violence during the rally, so they have asked shops in districts from Republique to Opera to stay closed on Saturday.
That event is dedicated to Adama Traore, a black Frenchman who died on his 24th birthday in 2016 after officers pinned him to the ground during an arrest.
The case is notorious in France and has been compared to that of Flynn in the US. Several autopsies of Traore’s body resulted in conflicting conclusions as to what caused his death, with one blaming asphyxiation. The officers involved in the arrest were exonerated by an internal investigation.