The festive weekend in France saw renewed violence and attacks against officers and gendarmes. In one city people wearing black hoodies began shooting with automatic weapons in broad daylight. In another city, a police officer on duty was smashed in the head with a hammer. In a third location a speeding motorist intentionally crashed into a patrol vehicle, with one gendarme in the car sustaining serious injuries.
Neither the onset of a nationwide lockdown, nor All Saint’s Day has proved enough to prevent criminals from shooting around in the open street or attacking officers and gendarmes. A shocking scene, filmed in the southern university town of Montpellier, France, shows more than a dozen black-clad, masked people in hoodies firing several rounds from their automatic weapons at the foot of the Assas Tower, the city’s tallest building.
The incident took place in broad daylight during the national lockdown. According to information obtained by Le Figaro, the shootout – a culmination of a conflict between two rival gangs – has left one person injured, who was rushed to hospital under police protection. There is, however, no information of the severity of his injuries. Press reports suggest that the incident was presumably a showdown between two drug gangs. The criminal division of the national police has launched an investigation.
Montpellier has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of violent crimes of late. In July, five people were stabbed and one man was shot in the Mosson district, France Bleu reported during the summer. The latest shooting also took place in this locality.
Besides the ongoing war between drug gangs in France, police and gendarmes were also attacked during the weekend. In Montbéliard, a town in Doubs county, a gendarme was seriously wounded when a motorist – who refused to stop for a roadside check – deliberately crashed into the police patrol vehicle in which the 20-year-old gendarme was sitting. According to the regional L’Est Republicain newspaper, the attacker’s powerful Mercedes A 200 completely wrecked the gendarmes’ vehicle. Both the driver and the passenger of the Mercedes were detained, but it is still unclear why they refused to stop for the police inspection.
However, the string of violence against authorities over the weekend did not stop here. In Cannes, one of the most popular resort towns on the French Riviera, a police officer on duty had his head smashed by a hammer. The gaping wound had to be sutured with twelve stitches.
Police unions are calling for firmer action against and stricter punishment for individuals who attack police officers in France on a daily basis. According to statistics published by Le Figaro in early August, 3,844 French officers and gendarmes were injured on duty during the first half of 2020, with offenders resisting police action every half an hour.