Independent report slams indiscriminate arrests at French pension protests

·1-min read
© Mathieu Pattier, AP

French police have made widespread use of “preventive” arrests to quell protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s deeply unpopular pension reform, France’s chief inspector for prisons wrote in a report published on Wednesday, adding her voice to the chorus of condemnation of police tactics.

The damning report, which was sent to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin last month, highlights “serious breaches of fundamental rights” and voices concern about the “trivialisation” of police custody “without legal basis”.

It is based on investigations carried out at multiple police stations in Paris in late March, following two nights of violent clashes triggered by Macron’s decision to force his pension reform through parliament without a vote in mid-March.

In a letter sent to Darmanin on April 17, the chief inspector of prisons, Dominique Simonnot, flagged “alarming shortcomings” in the work of officers who carried out the arrests, blaming police chiefs and public prosecutors for encouraging “preventive” – or even arbitrary – arrests.

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