Lyon official orders inquiry into plain-clothes police on demos
A regional official in southern France has opened an inquiry into the presence of police posing as trade unionists on recent anti-government demonstrations. The move follows claims by unionists and left-wingers that provocateurs stirred up violence in Lyon, Paris and other cities.
Rhone préfet Jacques Gérault on Wednesday confirmed that police officers, wearing union stickers, attended the 19 November demonstration against the government’s pension reforms and ordered the national police to investigate the matter.
Gérault even said that such action is a “tradition” but that he wanted to ensure that they acted according to the force’s professional ethics.
“There is a tradition in the police to infiltrate the population,” he said. “They do it all the time.”
Gérault was responding to claims by union leader Bernard Thibault and left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon that police had incited violence on recent protests.
A local paper, Lyon-Capitale, reports that local police chief Albert Doutre had denied the accusations “en bloc”, while Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux called them “unacceptable”.
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