French Police Recorded Threatening Anti-Macron Protesters Amid Rising Tensions

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 23: Riot police walk past a garbage set on fire by demonstrators during a protest against the government after pushing the pensions reform without a vote using article 49.3 of the constitution, and surviving a no-confidence motion at the parliament, in Paris, France on March 23, …
Firas Abdullah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Police in France have reportedly been recorded threatening protesters demonstrating against the country’s President, Emmanuel Macron.

French police officers have reportedly been recorded making graphic threats against members of the public protesting against the country’s embattled President, Emmanuel Macron.

Sparked by a highly-unpopular increase in the state pension age, demonstrations may be spiralling out of control, with rioting now a frequent sight in many parts of the European Union member-state.

Such violence appears to have resulted in a deterioration in the relationship between protesters and some members of the French police, with various forces in the country being accused of using excessive force against some demonstrators.

At least some of these claims now appear to have been substantiated with hard evidence, with Le Monde reporting that some members of the Motorized Brigades for the Repression of Violent Action (BRAV-M) were secretly recorded violently threatening protesters after arresting them.

According to the French publication, around six young people arrested by the force were subjected both to detailed threats of violence as well as “sexual remarks”, with one individual reportedly being told that they had a “slappable face”.

“You’re so lucky to be sitting there, now that we’ve arrested you,” one officer was reportedly recorded saying. “I swear, I’d have broken your legs, literally. I can tell you, we’ve broken elbows and faces… but you, I’d have broken your legs.”

The recordings have now reportedly sparked a judicial investigation into members of the BRAV-M unit, with Paris’ prefect of police, Laurent Nuñez, describing the recorded comments as “unacceptable” and adding that they “ethically pose very serious problems”.

For politicians in the country, however, what so far appear to be isolated cases of police brutality are not the main concern, with the combination of 66 days of protests and debilitating trade union strikes starting to take their toll on the country’s ruling elite.

Some in the country have even begun questioning whether the crisis is something the Macron government can reasonably survive, though opposition attempts to see the current administration removed from office have so far failed.

Others are looking further ahead, with POLITICO pondering on Friday what will happen to France once Macron is eventually forced to leave office, either due to a political coup or his term ending in 2027.

While extremely unpopular himself, Macron and his shakey neoliberal alliance have managed to just barely hold onto power over the last six years, with many in the country opting to reluctantly vote for him and his Renaissance political party just to keep supposedly more extreme elements on the left and right out of power.

However, the publication notes that as French politics becomes ever more polarised, there has so far been no sign of a new centrist force emerging in the country to take Macron’s place when he is eventually forced to abdicate his throne.

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