The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Suburbs of Paris:
Enough of Police Violence

Feb 20, 2017

This article is from the February 10th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Four police officers accused of beating and raping a young man from the Parisian suburbs were suspended from their jobs. Only one was accused of carrying out the rape, with the other three accused of cooperating with this vicious attack.

Several hundred residents of the area where this horrible attack took place demonstrated on February 6. The mothers of the area at the head of the march cried, “Justice for Theo,” the young man of 22 years who was attacked. They expressed their anger: “We are suffocated here; how can our children continue to live with this?” The attack on Theo was particularly barbaric and humiliating. It was an example of the provocative attitudes of the police in neighborhoods of immigrants, which was not at all unusual.

The racism, provocation, stops for papers, humiliations, even violence from the police is a daily occurrence. Of course not all of the police act like vicious louts. But the way the politicians talk stirs up hatred against immigrants, especially against youth from these suburbs, against petty delinquents, permitting the police to feel that anything is allowed.

The police who attacked Theo were from a special unit, a brigade supposed to be a rapid response squad, set up by the Sarkozy government in 2010, especially to intervene in “difficult” neighborhoods. A young person working in the neighborhood said about this special squad: “They are in the area here, especially to act like cowboys in a milieu of Indians.” He continued, “It’s not only the attitude of the police, it’s also the lack of jobs, the lack of justice, showing everyone there is no equality here.”

Theo’s family is demanding justice for the young man, hospitalized after surgery to close the wounds inflicted by these police officers. They can count on support from inhabitants of the nearby area. A new protest is being prepared for February 11 at the Palace of Justice in downtown Paris.