About 40 people staged an hour-long fireworks attack on a police station near Paris early Sunday, authorities said, the latest in a series of incidents targeting security forces in recent months .
Two officers were on a cigarette break in front of Champigny-sur-Marne station, about 12 kilometers east of the capital, when the attackers, some carrying steel bars, suddenly arrived shortly before midnight.
Police barely managed to barricade themselves inside when crowds began to attack the entrance and several police vehicles, but no one was injured during the raid.
The mayor of the city, Laurent Jeanne, told AFP that the police could have been targeted in retaliation for a recent scooter accident allegedly caused by the police, “which has not been proven”.
Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin tweeted that “these little merchants do not scare anyone and will not discourage our anti-drug work”, although police officials have not identified the attackers.
No arrests were made, but prosecutors said on Sunday that surveillance cameras were being examined for clues.
Jeanne admitted that drug trafficking was a problem in the Bois-L’Abbe neighborhood, where the station is located.
But police union officials said the attack underscored a growing threat to law enforcement in depressed suburbs of Paris and other major cities.
Several other police stations across France were targeted by similar fireworks this year, and the Champigny-sur-Marne post had previously been hit by youth wielding fireworks, most recently in April latest.
“But these were just children acting during the lockdown” imposed to stem the coronavirus, Jeanne said.
“It was something totally different – they wanted to physically injure these two officers,” he said.
The assault came after two officers were attacked and shot dead with their own weapons in a Paris suburb last Wednesday, prompting new calls to step up efforts to tackle crime and insecurity.
“There is no longer respect for the police, and unfortunately the government has not succeeded in changing this trend,” said Frédéric Lagache of the Alliance police union on Sunday.
“What will it take for the government to commit to protecting its security forces? ” he said.
Tensions have long been high between the police and residents of poor towns, often with large immigrant communities, where protests have erupted this summer over allegations of brutality and racism within their ranks.
© 2020 AFP