French police attacked during rally against 'anti-cop hatred'

French police attacked during rally against
# 19 May 2016 05:30 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. A rare rally of police officers against "anti-cop hatred" in France descended into violence as counter-demonstrators smashed and torched a police car, forcing two officers to flee, APA reports quoting AFP.

Police were demonstrating across France against violence suffered during a wave of protests in recent months, opposing reforms proposed by the deeply unpopular government of President Francois Hollande.

Police say their resources are dangerously stretched as they oversee stepped-up security measures following last year's Islamist attacks and try to ensure safety at increasingly restive protests.

And there was continued unrest at Wednesday's police demo as protesters smashed a police vehicle with iron bars before hurling an explosive device into it, forcing the two officers inside to flee before the car went up in flames.

Paris police chief Michel Cadot said the officers "were in the car when the explosive device was thrown inside", an account that was confirmed by a surveillance video seen by AFP.

A placard was later left in front of the burned-out car that said "free roast chickens", an AFP journalist said.

Cadot described the incident as "particularly shocking" and said it "marked an escalation in the gratuitous and brutal violence" against the security forces.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation for attempted murder, and interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said four arrests had been made and more were expected to follow.

Police and judicial sources said at least three of those arrested were men aged between 19 and 21.

The incident came as some 300 people defied a ban to march through the streets chanting "Cops, pigs, killers!" as police forced the demonstrators back with volleys of tear gas.

The march took place in the capital's Place de la Republique, the focal point for the youth-driven "Up All Night" movement that sprang from the protests against the Socialist government's controversial reforms.

Officials had banned the counter-demonstration over concerns it would "fuel tensions and seriously threaten public order".

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