Deep French police malaise boils over with continuing street protests

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Angry French police officers on Saturday held a sixth day of national demonstrations in protest over dilapidated and inadequate equipment, undermanning, recurrent attacks on officers, and what they describe as the leniency of sentencing judges, all in a context of the exceptional demands placed on them for anti-terrorism operations. The movement, which has wrongfooted the government and taken even police union officials by surprise, was prompted by a horrific petrol-bomb attack on several officers earlier this month in a Paris suburb. President François Hollande has now announced he will meet with representatives of the officers next week. As Loup Espargilière reports, the angry protests illustrate a deep disquiet across the ranks which has now become a political hot potato ahead of next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

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It was only after the fourth night in a row of flash demonstrations held around the country by French police officers calling notably for a reinforcement of their numbers and equipment, that President François Hollande announced overnight on Thursday, on the sidelines of a European Council meeting in Brussels, that he would meet with their representatives “at the beginning of next week”.