French police station attacked with fireworks, metal bars

International

PARIS (AP) — Dozens of people attacked a police station outside Paris early Sunday with blasts of fireworks and metal bars, damaging several police cars, officials said. No one was injured.

It was the latest action among numerous attacks against police officers, and sometimes firefighters, that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says are a sign that France is growing “savage.”

Last week, two police officers in civilian clothes were pulled from their vehicle in a Paris suburb and shot multiple times with their own guns. One officer remains in serious condition.

President Emmanuel Macron is to meet with police unions on Thursday to quickly find ways to protect officers, the interior minister said on a visit Sunday night to Champigny-sur-Marne, east of Paris.

“The police are the (French) Republic and the Republic is the police,” he said. He said the attack was another sign of the “great savageness” he claims is undermining French values. He linked the attack to a police crackdown on drug dealers and, using street language, said it was aimed at ”smashing cops.”

The police station is located in a housing project with 10,000 inhabitants. An official of the union, Unite SGP Police, Rocco Contento, said on BFMTV that the housing project is the hub of drug trafficking in the Val de Marne region, where Champigny is located.

Darmanin said he wants to add an amendment to a security bill defining fireworks as a type of arm and ban their sale, including on the internet.

In the early hours of Sunday, a gang of about 40 people showered the police station in a housing project in Champigny-sur-Marne with fireworks and other projectiles, Paris police headquarters, which is in charge of the region, said in a tweet. Attackers also used metal bars to smash five police cars. Three windows of the station were broken.

Fireworks are now routinely used by gangs to head off police in neighborhoods known for drug trafficking. Firefighters on rescue missions also come under attack.

“The little bosses impress no one and don’t discourage us in our fight against drugs,” the interior minister tweeted earlier. There were no known arrests.

Investigators were still trying to find the three men who shot two police officers last week after pulling them from their car and disarming them in an industrial section of the town of Herblay, in the Val d’Oise northwest of Paris.

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