Protests, violence and France's love-hate relationship with the police

There have been claims of police brutality during some of the many protests that have taken place in France in recent weeks against labour law reforms. Yet the police have also been applauded by sections of the public for their role in dealing with terrorist attacks over the past year or so. Meanwhile police officers themselves increasingly resent being painted as defenders of unpopular policies such as the employment law proposals. Matthieu Suc reports on the evolving role of the forces of law and order.

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For the last 18 months or so there has been something of a love-hate relationship between the French public and the forces of law and order. In November 2014, after the death of protester Rémi Fraisse at the hands of a gendarme grenade at Sivens in south-west France, the gendarmerie was vilified. But in January 2015 police and gendarmes were widely praised for the way they took down the killers behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the kosher supermarket hostage tragedy in Paris, attacks in which the police were also victims.

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