French police have confirmed they “disguised” themselves by dressing in an Islamic burka and kaftan during an operation targeting a suspected drug dealer.
A video of the unusual arrest, in the district of La Bricarde, Marseille, went viral after being posted on social media. It has been shared around 3,300 times on Twitter.
One policeman in a full-body burka and face veil and another in a long Islamic-style robe can be seen grabbing the suspect, before a uniformed officer joins them and the suspect is led away.
Salem, who shared the footage, condemned the police tactics, claiming it “stigmatised” young people and revealed the bad “state of cities”.
However, one police officer told BFMTV there was “nothing offensive” about the tactic, explaining: “Police officers dress sometimes so as not to be spotted, whether as a priest or in a kaftan.”
Vidéo hallucinante montrant deux policiers déguisés en “musulmans” pour arrêter un jeune de Marseille, dans le quartier de La Bricarde. pic.twitter.com/XbxdotVMRR
— Salem (@Ibn_Sayyid) February 1, 2017
The police source said the operation had been conducted by the Specialised Field Brigade on Wednesday. The source confirmed a suspected dealer in possession of a kilo of cannabis and around £250 had been arrested.
The suspect, they said, had been placed in custody as well as two other people from the same alleged criminal network.
The video generated fierce debate Twitter. “I think it’s bad from a certain point of view, even if the infiltration is successful, it is super offensive,” wrote ‘Kashama’.
‘Guillotine’ disagreed. “It’s not insulting. This is logical to adapt an outfit to not arouse suspicion.”
“By dressing this way, they recognise that this is part of the French landscape. Should be happy, right?” wrote ‘Khoffee’.
“Cops disguise themselves as Muslims and it is a drama, terrorists who disguise themselves as tourists and it’s normal…” questioned another user.
“Tell me Salem, if the police were disguised as Catholics you would you be outraged?” asked another.