Violence erupts in Paris suburb over police brutality

Hundreds took to the streets demanding justice for Theo. At one point, when the protests got violent the police resorted to firing real bullets at gathered crowds after they ran out of tear gas while trying to disperse them.? Photograph:( AFP )

WION Paris, France Feb 08, 2017, 07.07 AM (IST)

Police arrested dozens of French youths after they torched cars on Tuesday night. Protests have become increasingly violent over the past few days in a north Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois in response to the rape of a young black man by police last week.

In an Al Jazeera video, the victim, only identified as "Theo", describes that he was on his way to meet a friend through his neighbourhood when he saw the police asking people for identification. Theo claims that he intervened on their behalf after an officer slapped one of them. That's when he says the assault happened. 

In the video, Theo also alleges that the policemen hurled abuses at him, calling him "negro" and "bitch".

The Al Jazeera video also has footage of the attack from the police dash cam.

Back on Monday, the police, after running out of teargas, resorted to firing real bullets in the air to disperse protesters, Reuters reported. Defending the move, police representative Luc Poignant said, "Things could have been a lot worse. We could have had eight dead police officers," Reuters reported. 

Hundreds had taken to the streets demanding justice for Theo, protesting against police brutality after 22-year-old Theo was beaten and sodomised with a baton. 

The attack itself happened last Thursday. The police say that four officers stopped to speak to a group of about twelve people "after hearing calls characteristic of lookouts at drug dealing sites", The Guardian quotes the prosecutor's office as saying. They attempted to arrest the 22-year-old man, who has no criminal record, and when he allegedly resisted they used teargas and "one of them used an expandable baton", the Guardian reports the prosecutor's office as saying.

The four policemen, who all deny the charges, were suspended. One was charged with rape and the other three with unnecessary violence. 

According to media reports, Theo suffered severe anal injuries and required surgery. He also suffered injuries to the head and face, Al Jazeera reported. 

President Francois Hollande visited the victim in the hospital, The Guardian reports.

Policemen stand next to a graffiti reading "fuck the police" in front of the local police station in Aulnay-sous-Bois, northern Paris, on February 6, 2017. (AFP)


The Wreckage of a burnt car is seen in photo taken on February 7, 2017 after protesters burnt cars and garbage bins in one of the main streets of the Rose des Vents district in Aulnay-sous-Bois. (AFP)