A police officer trying to confiscate the wares of an illegal, migrant souvenir seller in Paris got more than he bargained for when the criminal’s friends got stuck in.
In a remarkable attack caught on film by a Russian tourist, an immigrant gang coordinating the lucrative illegal sale of souvenir Eiffel Tower models to tourists jumped a police officer. He had attempted to confiscate the models from one seller and was only saved when a colleague stepped in with a large cannister of pepper spray to force the men back.
This isn’t the first time such an attack has taken place. TheLocal.fr reports the comments of of a Police Union spokesman who said the vendors, who are predominantly from sub-Saharan Africa, “don’t hesitate to physically attack police officers” if they attempt to curb their trade.
The licensing of the street sellers, who carry hundreds of cast-metal models of famous Paris landmarks on great steel loops, was initiated after their undercutting damaged the profits of French sellers who operated legitimate stalls and shops. French police went to war with the unlicensed sellers back in 2011, even going so far as to deploy riot police to the Eiffel Tower as the hawkers reacted so badly to being moved on.
The Independent reported at the time the riot police had to “occupy” tourist sites 24-hours a day to keep the migrant gangs away.