Thousands of police in France have taken to the city’s streets and swarmed around tourist hot-spots like the Notre Dame cathedral to demand President Francois Hollande either provide them with the necessary equipment and manpower to guard and secure citizens, or lighten up their loads.
Hollande has kept a state of emergency in effect for more than 11 months, due to terrorist concerns. Police, however, say they’re stretched too thin and are not only fatigued, but poorly supplied and suffering under terrible work conditions.
“We’re asked to do things that have nothing to do with police work, like guarding theaters and synagogues and churches,” one police officer who’s held the title for 12 years told CBC. “It’s becoming unbearable. We can’t do it all.”
And another law enforcement officer quoted in RT said citizens are actually getting the short end of the policing stick.
“If somebody dials 17 [France’s 911], there aren’t any cars around to respond,” the officer said. “Misdemeanors, felonies … we don’t have time for that any more.”
So police have staged street protests – and they’ve been going on for days now, at Notre Dame cathedral, in Calais, Lille, Toulon and other spots.
Reuters has more on the story:
“Police say they are no longer sufficiently equipped even to defend themselves and have staged five nights of unauthorized demonstrations. Some 3,000 of them took to the streets on Thursday night, they said. …
“Speaking from a European Council meeting in Brussels, Hollande said he would meet police representatives at his office early next week to hear their grievances.
“Police discontent was fueled by an incident in a town near Paris earlier this month, where a gang petrol-bombed four police officers in a patrol car.
“The car was stationed at a crossroads notorious for smash-and-grab robberies on motorists. Police say the gang tried to prevent the officers from getting out of the burning vehicle. Two of the four were seriously injured and one suffered life-threatening burns.
“Unions say a surge in criminal gang activity and militant attacks has put extra strains on police.
“Thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed to guard airports, train stations and other sites in response to Islamist attacks that have killed more than 230 people in France in the past two years.”