How French police formed a 'war' unit to tackle 'yellow vest' protestors

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Earlier this year Mediapart reported how a 19-year-old woman had her skull fractured by police in Marseille, southern France, as she lay on the ground during a day of demonstrations. The same investigation has now revealed the existence of a new hybrid police unit that was created to take on the so-called 'gilets jaunes' or 'yellow vest' protestors in France. These officers were not trained in public order policing yet the initiative was backed by a memo from the Ministry of the Interior and superior officers who considered that in a time of “war” anything and everything is permissible. Pascale Pascariello reports.

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It was around 6.40pm on December 8th 2018 and at the corner of an alley in the centre of Marseille around a dozen armed men, dressed in black and wearing helmets and masks, were kicking and hitting a young woman with batons as she lay on the ground, fracturing her skull. One of the attackers said: “You want some more?” (see video here).