Despite national lockdown, police in several French cities and communes were subjected to violent attacks over the weekend as authorities struggle to maintain the strict measures.
The first incident took place on Saturday in the late afternoon when a fight broke out between two men in the commune of Saint-Paul-lès-Dax. Police were called after one of the men fled to his car following the altercation.
When officers arrived at the attacker’s apartment, he set upon four of them with a knife and a machete before being subdued with a taser. Police also arrested his female partner who had been violent with officers, as well.
The woman was later released. But the knifeman, who is said to be well-known to police, was kept in custody, according to a report by newspaper Sud Ouest.
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On Sunday evening in the Paris suburbs of Yvelines, residents of several neighbourhoods in Mantes-la-Jolie, Les Mureaux, and Saint-Germain-en-Laye confronted police, threatening them and spitting on them.
The incident in Mantes-la-Jolie saw around 40 youths block the road and surround police, despite ongoing orders that people should not congregate in public to slow the spread of coronavirus. Officers were forced to deploy smoke grenades to escape the encirclement.
Just hours later in Les Mureaux, approximately 20 youths surrounded officers after they stopped a motorist. Police again used a stun grenade to escape the scene.
In Saint-Germain-en-Laye, police confronted a group of youths who proceeded to enter an apartment. The youths insulted and spat at the officers after leaving the apartment, but police did not retaliate due to the presence of elderly people.
Bordeaux also saw clashes between youths and police in the Aubiers district when officers confronted a group involved in playing football matches and engaging in motorcycle “rodeos”.
According to broadcaster franceinfo, the youths immediately attacked the police with projectiles upon their arrival.
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The police union Alternative Police CFDT said the tensions in the area were escalating, claiming that a refrigerator had even been thrown at officers from several floors above.
Three police were injured during the operation, and three of the youths were arrested after officers deployed tear gas to bring the situation to a resolution.
Other areas of France, such as the heavily migrant populated Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis, have also seen problems for officers trying to enforce lockdown measures designed to stop the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
“We are not going to give up. But we also know where these people live and how they live. Strict containment, for them, is just impossible,” a police officer in the area said last month.
The 18th Arrondissement of Paris, which also boasts a high migrant-background population, was revealed last week to see around 200 fines every day as residents are caught violating the lockdown.