Thousands of people protesting police brutality in Paris faced scenes of carnage and chaos as police fired tear gas at protestors and beat them with batons on Sunday.
Marching under the banner, “march for justice and dignity“, protestors chanted “no justice, no peace” in response to 22-year-old Theo, who was raped with a police baton earlier in February, when officers searched him in the northern Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.
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One officer has been charged with rape, while three others have been accused of aggravated assault. All three deny any wrongdoing. According to the lawyer representing the officer accused of rape, the penetration with the baton was “done accidentally.”
According to witness, shortly after 5pm, clashes began breaking out between police and protestors.
A reported 7,000 to 7,500 people marched from Place de la Nation to Place de la Republique, carrying banners that called for “Justice and Dignity and Stopping Police Impunity” in what was a still a peaceful protest.
Clashes broke out between some protesters and police at around 5 pm local time.
— Chabrout Julien (@JulienChabrout) March 19, 2017
Le cortège de tête de la #MarchePourLaJusticeEtLaDignite #marche19mars pic.twitter.com/UFuX77UfHQ
— Frédéric A. (@frederic_RTfr) March 19, 2017
At the end of the protest, about 1,000 hooded demonstrators were filmed throwing Molotov cocktails and flares at police, who responded with tear gas.
Two police officers were taken to hospital with minor injuries while three people were arrested and windows of five banking institutions were damaged, reports AFP.
The protests stem from the alleged sexual assault of a 22-year-old black man, named Theo, at the hands of four officers while in police custody in February.