AFP — A 27-year-old American man has been charged in connection with the torching of a police car while two officers were inside during a protest in Paris last week, prosecutors said Sunday.
Four other men, who were members of an anti-fascist group, have been charged with attempted murder over the incident on May 18, which was caught on camera and widely shared on social media.
The American has been charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter of a person holding public office, as well as destruction of property, group violence and participating in a masked armed group.
Prosecutors said he was unemployed and staying with friends, having arrived only recently in France.
He is suspected of taking part in the attack by throwing a metal street bollard at the car’s windshield.
The footage shows a small group of masked protesters hammering the car with iron bars, smashing its windows before hurling in an explosive device that quickly fills the car with smoke and engulfs it in flames.
The policeman and policewoman inside were able to escape unharmed.
The incident happened on the sidelines of a rare demonstration by French police against “anti-cop hatred”.
The American was arrested on Thursday during another protest — this time against controversial labour reforms that have prompted a wave of strikes and demonstrations in France.
Violence has marred a number of French protests in recent weeks, with much of the unrest blamed on small groups of troublemakers who appear bent on targeting the security services.
Some 350 members of the security forces have been injured during labour protests over the past two months.
The American suspect has maintained his right to remain silent in custody, acknowledging only that he was present during the demonstration on May 18 while denying any involvement in the violence.
Three of the four other suspects have been released on bail. The youngest, aged 18, remains in detention.