A 27 years old US-citizen is charged with attempted murder for torching a car with two police officers inside during a demonstration. Apparently the man was unemployed, staying with friends in France. He denies the accusations.
The identity of the man was not released, but he is identified as the one throwing a Molotov cocktail bomb on the police car, while two officers were in the car, a man (Kevin Philippy) and a woman (Alison Barthélemy). Four more demonstrators have been arrested and charged.
A bystander attempted to defend one of the police officers that was later hurried to hospital, injured after fighting off the mob. The two officers were shock but were not seriously injured.
The violent clashes with the police have cost 350 injuries and countless cases of hurt demonstrators.
The attack took place on May 18, as the French Socialist government survived two no-confidence votes and decided to bypass the parliament to introduce labor market reforms. France is experiencing a surge in unemployment to double-digit multiyear highs. The government sustains the only way to reverse the trend is to move towards the direction of an easy–hire, easy-fire model.
The use of tear gas, water cannons, batons and pepper spray has created a heated “us-versus-them” atmosphere in France, with the attack against the two officers becoming a symbol of police-hate. Police officers held their own demonstrators for what they see as mounting “anti-cop hatred.”
One of the two officers involved in the attack was decorated by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve in the presence of French President François Hollande. The 29-year old Kevin Philippy was promoted to a higher officer’s rank and was given a permanent contract in the police force. Philippy blocked several blows and walked away from the assailants while helping his colleague. Philippy was praised for his “calm and measured” response.
(AFP, AP, France24)