The impressive images of attacks with fireworks mortars against a police station in Champigny-sur-Marne, Saturday, October 10, revived the debate on violence against the police in France. Does this violence exist elsewhere in the world? To answer it, Le monde en face takes you this week to Washington, Beirut, Brussels and London.
In the USA, the issue of police violence was brought back to the fore with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But there is also the reverse with assaults on the police. In mid-September, a news item froze America with terror: in Los Angeles, in the Compton district, a man opened fire on two officers, without any apparent reason. The two policemen are seriously injured. And obviously, the subject is imposed on the political field in the middle of the electoral campaign, mainly for the benefit of Donald Trump.
In Liban, demonstrations have been almost incessant for a year in Beirut. A fortiori since the explosions in the port in early August. The demonstrators do not attack the police directly but rather political institutions in general. But what really provokes the debate is the reverse, that is to say the repression by part of the police against the demonstrators. On August 8, some of them wanted to march on the Lebanese Parliament. The police responded not only with tear gas, but also with rubber bullets at point blank range. Even more serious, there was buckshot fire on the part of the police, that is to say, live ammunition.
In Belgium, attacks against the police, so far uncommon in the country, have increased by 15% in recent months. In Brussels, the Marolles district was the victim of an evening of violence in early September. Firefighters were called in for trash fires, as well as the police because young people were attacking the window of a nursery. On their arrival, their vehicles were targeted by young people: stones and throwing Molotov cocktails. A cocktail hit a fire engine, which caused great emotion in the country.
United Kingdom, attacks on police in London are also on the rise with an increase of 38% in one year. The capital has been the scene of numerous demonstrations, which have often turned into a physical confrontation with the police. And during confinement, those who did not want to comply with health restrictions did not always accept being called to order. Faced with this growing questioning of the police force, the government has lengthened the prison sentences incurred in the event of assault on a depositary of authority.
In summary, assaults on police officers are also on the increase elsewhere in the world. But attacks as impressive as those against the Champigny-sur-Marne police station are not commonplace.