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"Global security" law: three questions on the photo of a police officer targeted by an explosive device in Paris

 "Global security" law: three questions on the photo of a police officer targeted by an explosive device in Paris

"Global security" law: three questions on the photo of a police officer targeted by an explosive device in Paris

During demonstrations against the "Global Security" law this Saturday in Paris, around fifty police officers were injured, announced the police headquarters. An AFP photo suggests that one of them even caught fire, causing many hasty reactions.

This is a photo by Agence France Presse (AFP) taken and published Saturday, December 5, and widely relayed on social networks. It gives the impression that a policeman framing the demonstration has been transformed into a human torch after receiving a flaming projectile. An image symbolizing the violence that took place during the Parisian mobilization and which aroused great emotion among its observers.

Where and when was this photo taken?

The scene takes place in Paris, on Avenue Gambetta, in the 20th arrondissement, near the procession contesting the "Global Security" law., Saturday 5 December. In a context where the violent elements of the demonstration quickly attacked the police, present en masse on an unusually narrow course. Very shortly after the start of the demonstration, violence broke out, the police responding to projectiles thrown at them with charges and the firing of tear gas canisters in order to split the procession in two. This is when the photo is captured. On a sidewalk, within a unit of fifteen police officers, a member of the BRAVM, a unit created to suppress violence in demonstration is photographed with a ball of flames at body height. Once published by AFP, around 4 pm, the photo of the legend mentions ", folded up against a wall on a sidewalk and "surrounded by a fire".

Why has it caused so many reactions?

The dissemination of this cliché aroused particularly strong reactions from those who support article 24 and, in general, the police. LR deputy Eric Ciotti thus described it as "an image of shame" , while Senator Bruno Retailleau accuses the violent demonstrators of wanting to "kill cops". On LCI, the European deputy (RN) Gilbert Collard thus evoked "a flaming gendarme, attacked firefighters and police officers attacked with hammer blows". The police unions, which defend Article 24 for the violence of which they are victims in demonstrations, have not remained silent. The union of police officers, Synergie, thus denounced "a desire to kill and mutilate the police"

While the demonstration wants the partial withdrawal of a law that would limit the ability of journalists to film the work of the police, in a context where the profession regrets not being able to properly cover social movements , this shot was the opportunity for his supporters to justify article 24. A device in which his defenders see the possibility of extending the means of protection of the police. Among them, the union of the commissioners of the national police, which questioned "the persons in charge who stimulate and protect with their speeches" the authors of violence.

What really happened?

As impressive as it is, the AFP image captures a moment. If the fifteen police officers were indeed targeted by a projectile, the latter did not set the official on fire as the photo suggests. This is attested by the independent journalist Clément Lanot, who filmed the scene: video in support, this videographer accustomed to social movements believes that "a deodorant hanging on a firecracker would probably be at the origin of this flame. No police officer will turned into a human torch at that time. "

AFP itself reacted after the controversy escalated. The author of the cliché, Anne-Christine Poujoulat, thus brings her comment in a dispatch published by the agency, in the afternoon, Sunday, December 6: "It was extremely furtive. [...] The policeman n 'was not on fire, but I have the impression that something was thrown at him from which he protected himself with his shield.

A perspective that does not take away from the danger incurred by the police officers targeted by this object or from the intentions of the person who launched it. But that the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin immediately interpreted as a "disastrous attempt to relativize the attacks against the police". 'These 'debates' following the publication of the AFP photo reveal [s] an unbearable inversion of values'. It justifies all the more support for our police , " he wrote on his Twitter account , accompanied by the famous photo.

After this controversy within a particularly tense mobilization Saturday, article 24 must again be rewritten. For their part, opponents of the text called for continued mobilization until its withdrawal.

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