Some 250 firefighters took part in a protest in a major French city against the growing number of attacks they are exposed to while performing their duties.
More than 200 desperate firefighters gathered in front of the prefecture building in Lyon to protest against violence that they frequently fall victim to while performing their duties, which appears to be a worsening problem.
The most recent incident occurred in Rillieux-la-Pape – a town in the outskirts of Lyon that boasts a population of some 30 thousand residents – when group of young black-clad men, using hoodies to cover their faces, set several vehicles and a church ablaze and then attacked firefighters arriving at the scene, hurling metal tins, petanque balls and stones at them.
Lyon has recently witnessed another attack when an intoxicated bar guest equipped himself with an axe and swang at the forehead of a firefighter who tried to disarm him. The firefighter was rushed to hospital but his life is not in danger. The Sud SDMIS firefighters’ union believes that without the firefighters’ intervention, far more guests in the bar would have been injured, Le Figaro writes.
The firefighters staged a silent protest in front of the prefect’s building by putting their helmets on the ground. Afterwards, they sent a small delegation into the building to negotiate.
Last year authorities registered 160 attacks against firefighters in and around Lyon. The protesting firefighters’ main goal is to be provided with a wider range of tools and receive heavier police protection, as well as for authorities to mete out tougher sancions against those who attack them.