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France bans stun grenades after anti-dam activist’s death, police protest in Paris

Frenchb police demonstrate in Paris on Thursday
Frenchb police demonstrate in Paris on Thursday Reuters/Christian Hartmann
2 min

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has banned the police from using stun grenades of the kind that killed a young anti-dam protester last month. Thousands of police officers demonstrated in Paris against alleged laxness in the fight against crime.

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After nearly three weeks of controversy over the death of 21-year-old Rémi Fraisse, Cazeneuve on Thursday banned the use of grenades of the kind that killed him at a stormy protest against the building of a dam in the south of France.

The government faces charges of a cover-up after the publication of gendarmes’ exchanges at the time, which showed they knew Fraisse had died 48 hours before the news was made public.

A working group, charged by Enviroment Minister Ségolène Royal with finding a compromise on the dam controversy, started its work on Thursday in the south-westrn city of Albi.

In Paris several thousand police officers staged a rare demonstration on Thursday, complaining that they were not getting the support or resources needed to fight crime.

Police union Alliance said it called the demonstration to pressure president François Hollande to fulfil his promises on security.

The union says it is impossible for police to ensure public safety with outdated equipment, little career advancement and low hiring rates.

Demonstrators also denounced policies that led to what they call unsafe working conditions.

"Our criminal justice policy has been heard loud and clear by our criminals,” Frédéric Lagache of police union Alliance told RFI. “They know that whatever they do, they won't be put in jail. We have to manage this impunity on the ground."

“What we want is for people to stop criticising us, we need resources to do our job, and we need more support from the government,” Brigitte - an officer from the northern French city of Caen said. “But we’re not being listened to. Our interior minister is not listening, nor is our president.”

A small group of counter-demonstrators poured red paint on the ground in front of them in a protest against Fraisse’s death and alleged police brutality.
 

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