Around 27,000 police officers took to the streets of Paris this week in a protest directed at French President Emmanuel Macron over lack of resources and poor working conditions.
The organisers of the protest, named March of the Angry, labelled it “historic” and “never seen before” as the profession counted around 150,000 individuals in total across the entire country.
Part of the protest included highlighting the surge in suicides among officers, with 52 police suicides occurring since the start of this year alone, Liberation reports.
Yves Lefebvre, secretary-general of SGP Unit, a major French police union, said it was “beyond comprehension, we are very numerous today”.
“Success will be if we get what we expect from the government. For now, we do not have an appointment, but we must be received tonight. And it’s not only the ministry that is being targeted but also the Elysée,” Mr Lefebvre added.
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Two policewomen from Val-de-Marne spoke to the paper about suicides in their area saying: “In Maisons-Alfort, we had two suicides in eight months, and we were completely abandoned. We were notified of the deaths, then we went home, and we had to act as if nothing was wrong. There was no psychological follow-up.”
“We have obtained bulletproof vests to wear before, so today we hope that the march will bear some fruit. We do not ask for the moon — just to be able to do our job in decent conditions. Both for us and to better protect the population,” another officer said.
Matthieu Anaclet from Alternative Police Union CFDT also commented on the weekly Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protests saying it left many officers drained.
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Eric Drouet, one of the Yellow Vest leaders, attended the march. He attempted to speak with officers while Yellow Vests held photographs of the many brutal injuries of the movement’s members.
A police officer reacted to the presence of the Yellow Vests, shouting: “The Republic, it lives thanks to us; you are nothing without us.” Police arrested Drouet in January after he organised a protest in Paris without prior notification.