The inevitable tragedies as French government turns a blind eye to police violence

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Over the course of recent months, the French government has continued to deny the mounting evidence of unwarranted violent behaviour by police, notably during the rolling ‘yellow vest’ protests when an 80-year-old woman died after being hit by a teargas grenade fired at her window and hundreds of people, both demonstrators and bystanders, have been injured, many seriously. Last month, a 24-year-old man went missing after he fell into the Loire river in Nantes, in north-west France, during a police charge on a group partying to music on a quayside. In this opinion article, Mediapart’s Michaël Hajdenberg argues why, by refusing to condemn the abuses and even lending legitimacy to them, the executive has created a dangerous situation in which further tragic events appear inevitable.

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There was no happenstance, accident, or unusual set of circumstances behind the death of Zineb Redouane or the disappearance of Steve Caniço. The two tragic cases, occurring within the space of just a few months, are part of the grim toll of the law and order policies put in place by France’s executive and its interior minister Christophe Castaner.