Posts Tagged ‘Paris police’

Paris Police Again “Clean Out” Migrant Camps

August 18, 2017

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Porte de La Chapelle (Paris), vendredi matin. Les CRS évacuent le camp de migrants.

Paris police evacuate migrant camp (again)

Paris police evacuate migrant camp (again)
Migrants queue to board buses during the evacuation. Photo: AFP
Paris police on Friday announced the evacuation of a migrant camp in the city’s 18th arrondissement.

The announcement comes around a month after the last evacuation of the same camp at the Porte de la Chapelle, and is the 35th such operation in the past two years.

Police began moving migrants out of the makeshift camp at around 6am on Friday morning, closing the surrounding area to traffic.

Migrants who had been staying at the camp were taken by buses to 18 sites around the Île-de-France region.

Anti-riot police were involved in the operation, however pictures from the scene appeared to show that it went smoothly, and the evacuation was completed by 9:30am.


Anti-riot police gather migrants early on Friday morning. Photo: AFP

The last evacuation of the Porte de la Chapelle camp took place in early July, when around 2,500 people were transported to alternative locations. These included school sports halls which were empty over the summer holidays.

Before that, a police operation in May had moved around 1,000 people out of the makeshift tent camp where they had been living in squalid conditions. Earlier in the year, city authorities had installed large boulders under the flyover in an attempt to dissuade groups from settling there.

Paris became a gathering point for migrants after the closure last October of the notorious “Jungle” near Calais – a makeshift camp near the Channel coast where thousands lived in the hope of climbing aboard trucks or trains to get into Britain.


Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces — Spent 15 years in prison for shooting officers — On watch list after recent arrest — Informants last month said he was ‘seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen’

April 21, 2017


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Paris Police secure the Champs-Elysees after one police officer was killed and another wounded in a shooting in Paris, France, April 20, 2017. REUTERS – Christian Hartmann

French security services are today facing troubling questions as to how they failed to prevent an ISIS gunman from slaughtering one policeman and wounding two other officers when he was already on a terror watch list.

Champs-Elysees killer Karim Cheurfi had been detained only last month, it has emerged, after informants said he was ‘seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen’.

But the 39-year-old, who used the war name ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’, had to be released because anti-terror police did not have enough evidence to hold him.

The homegrown fanatic, who officials confirmed was a French national despite his nickname, had also been released early from prison – where it is thought he was radicalised – having been jailed for 20 years in 2005 for trying to kill two policemen.

Cheurfi opened fire five times with a .38 revolver following a car chase in 2001, leaving the officers and a third victim wounded.

He had fled on foot before the driver of the other car and the passenger – a trainee police officer – caught up with him. He fired twice, seriously wounding both men in the chest. All three survived the attack in Roissy-en-Brie, in the Seine-et-Marne department of northern France.

Cheurfi was arrested and placed in custody under a false name. Two days later he seriously injured an officer who was taking him out of his cell, seizing his weapon and firing several times.

Two French officials said this morning that Cheurfi was detained in February for threatening police before being freed, although a warrant for his arrest is dated March 6.

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The killer was known to security services in France, according to reports this evening

The killer was known to security services in France, according to reports this evening

One police officer was shot dead and two more seriously injured by a gunman carrying a Kalashnikov in Paris this evening

One police officer was shot dead and two more seriously injured by a gunman carrying a Kalashnikov in Paris this evening


Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France's Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the 'targeted attack'

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France’s Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the ‘targeted attack’

The arrest warrant issued for Cheurfi before he was detained at the beginning of last month

The arrest warrant issued for Cheurfi before he was detained at the beginning of last month

The ISIS killer is believed to have been released in 2016 following the triple assassination attempt, at a time when he was known for drug offences, car theft and robbery.

Despite having the nickname ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’, Cheurfi was a French national, Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon told public broadcaster VRT.

It has been claimed Cheurfi was making dark threats on messaging app Telegram before launching his attack on the Champs Elysees in Paris last night.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the atrocity, which was carried out with a Kalashnikov weapon. A female foreign terrorist was also injured when a bullet ricocheted off the police car before Cheurfi was shot dead.

The fatal incident unfolded as presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, debated on a TV show nearby before Sunday’s election.

French President Francois Hollande said he was convinced it was a terrorist attack, adding that he would hold a security cabinet meeting this morning.

The French-born killer lived in Chelles, a commuter town close to Paris in the Seine-et-Marne department.

In 2003 he was sentenced to 20 years inside a high security prison following the attacks in Roissy-en-Brie, also in Seine-et-Marne.

But he was let out early following an appeal ruling, giving him the freedom to carry out tonight’s attack.

Gunshot-like noise forces BBC crew in Paris to run off the street


The app makers have boasted of security settings which keep messages safe from 'snoopers'

The app makers have boasted of security settings which keep messages safe from ‘snoopers’

Telegram is a messaging app which focuses on speed and security, according to its makers.

It allows users to send messages, photos, videos and files to groups of up to 5,000 and broadcast to unlimited audiences.

A statement on Telegram’s website about security says: ‘Big internet companies like Facebook or Google have effectively hijacked the privacy discourse in the recent years.

‘Their marketers managed to convince the public that the most important things about privacy are superficial tools that allow hiding your public posts or your profile pictures from the people around you. Adding these superficial tools enables companies to calm down the public and change nothing in how they are turning over private data to marketers and other third parties.

‘At Telegram we think that the two most important components of Internet privacy should be instead:

  • Protecting your private conversations from snooping third parties, such as officials, employers, etc
  • Protecting your personal data from third parties, such as marketers, advertisers, etc

‘This is what everybody should care about, and these are some of our top priorities. Telegram’s aim is to create a truly free messenger, without the usual caveats. This means that instead of diverting public attention with low-impact settings, we can afford to focus on the real privacy issues that exist in the modern world.’

Cheurfi was the registered keeper of the grey Audi used in last night’s attack. A raid on his home later found guns and ammunition, intelligence sources said.

He had targeted a parked patrol car full of traffic control officers working to the Paris prefecture.

The officer killed was at the wheel and was having an evening snack at the time of his death.

French television network BFMTV reports that Cheurfi had used the Telegram internet messaging service, which extremists have previously been claimed to favour because of its encryption.

Police are searching the home of the shooter in eastern Paris, and following the attack French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has called for the election campaign to be suspended.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France’s Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the ‘targeted attack’.

He said a ‘car pulled up just after 9pm’ next to a police patrol car which was parked up on the busy avenue.

Police search the car reportedly used in Paris attack

Intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for 'State-security'

Intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday 

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital 

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital

A man jumped out with a weapon and started firing indiscriminately into the police vehicle, hitting the unidentified officer who died directly in the head.

The assailant then ran off, pursued by other officers. Two of them were wounded as they killed him.

Mr Brandet said ‘all lines of investigation were being pursued’, while intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’.

This means he would have been under surveillance, because he was a known risk to the country.

Mr Brandet later said a possible accomplice had turned himself over to Belgian police, but it was ‘too early to say’ if he had played a significant part in the attack.

President Hollande, speaking from the Elysee palace close to the scene of the shooting, said: ‘A national tribute will be paid to this policeman who was killed in such a cowardly way.

‘A passerby was hit. The assailant was neutralised by other police officers. The entire area has been cordoned off. The people present have been evacuated.’

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Updated 9:35 PM ET, Thu April 20, 2017

Paris (CNN)  A man who killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees Thursday night was known to French security services for radical Islamist activities and had shot and wounded an officer in the past, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

The suspect, who was shot dead by French police, was the subject of a “Fiche S” surveillance file and was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.
The man was a French national who shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car, the source said. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer’s gun and shot him three times, the source said. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.
The source said French investigators now believe this was in all likelihood a terrorist attack. They believe there was just one attacker, and the danger is likely over, the source said.
ISIS issued a statement saying an Islamic State “fighter” carried out the attack. The ISIS claim comes via a statement released by the group’s media wing, Amaq. The ISIS statement identified the attacker and called him “the Belgian.” CNN has not confirmed the attacker’s association with Belgium.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said he will reveal the shooter’s identity on Friday at a news conference. He said officers are searching the man’s residence in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, a Paris suburb, and are trying to determine if he had accomplices.
The shooting has not officially been declared a terrorist act but anti-terrorist forces are leading the investigation, French President Francois Hollande said.
“The people who were present have been evacuated and we are convinced that the leads which point us to this case, and which will allow us to uncover the truth, are of a terrorist nature,” he said.

Elections on Sunday

The shooting happened about 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) when a car stopped at 102 Champs-Elysees in front of a police van, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said.
A man emerged from the car and opened fire on the van with an “automatic weapon,” killing one officer instantly, he said. The man “then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen. Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker,” Brandet said.
The slain officer was 30 years old, Molin said. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, he said. Also wounded was a female tourist.
The shooting shut down the famed Champs-Elysees, one of Paris’ top tourist attractions and home to the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument. The avenue was clear of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers Thursday night.
It comes three days before French voters start elections for a new president. Candidates went ahead with a debate Thursday night.
France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead. Parliament voted in December to extend the extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.
Security has been tight because of the vote. Just two days ago French authorities arrested two men in Marseille who were allegedly planning an attack in a run-up to the election.

Police officers block access to the Champs-Elysees.

At least three underground train stations of the Paris Metro — the Champs-Elysees-Clemenceau, George V and F. Roosevelt stations — have been “closed off” near the site of the police operation on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, BFMTV reported.

Trump: ‘What can you say?’

Paris resident Daoud Kal, 29, said he was walking in the area near a metro station when he heard four to five shots. He looked around, but couldn’t identify where the shots were coming from. People panicked and ran away from the scene and he joined them.
The CNN Paris bureau is on this street and staffers reported hearing a dozen shots. At least 20 police vehicles were seen on the street.
Officers could be seen forcibly removing innocent citizens from the area as they attempted to get them to safety.
President Donald Trump, speaking at a news conference in Washington with the visiting Italian Prime Minister, offered condolences to the people of France after the shooting, saying it “looks like another terrorist attack.”
“What can you say? It never ends,” the President said.
The Champs-Elysees is a main road lined with restaurants, cafes, exclusive designer boutiques and tourist shops. At one end is the Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by a several-lane-wide roundabout, and the other end stops at the Place de la Concorde, known for its obelisk monument.
The presidential palace, the Elysee, is a few blocks away.
French police tweeted, “Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces.”

French candidates respond

The US State Department put out a cautionary tweet, saying: “If you’re in #Paris, monitor local news. #ChampsElysees has been closed. Authorities are telling people to avoid the area after a shooting.”

One police officer was killed in a shooting on the Champs-Elysees.

The shooting comes three days before French general elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert. French politicians immediately reacted on social media.
French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen tweeted, “My emotions and solidarity for the police, once again targeted.”
Conservative French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon tweeted, “Paying homage to police who give their lives to protect ours, #ChampsElysees.”
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve tweeted: “Paying homage to the policeman killed on the champs elysees. Thoughts are with his family. Solidarity with his injured colleagues and those close to them.”
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy tweeted: “To our law enforcement: support, strength, courage. They are paying again a heavy price. Our Nation’s tribute must be total NS”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted: “We won’t give up, not bow and remain united facing these odious and insidious threats that weigh on our cities.”
She also extended a message of solidarity and thanks to the retailers on the Champs-Elysees who gave people shelter during the attack.
This developing story has been updated to clarify details about the attacker’s nationality.

France: Chinese anger, fears exposed after French police kill Chinese man — The violent street clashes of Paris have changed foreign attitudes

March 29, 2017

Chinese immigrants and China’s government are protesting a police killing in Paris that prompted violent street clashes and exposed the fears and frustrations of France’s large Asian community.

Protesters gathered Tuesday in northeast Paris for a second day of demonstrations over the fatal shooting of a Chinese man in his apartment, and police launched an internal investigation into a death that took on diplomatic implications.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had summoned a representative of the French embassy in Beijing Tuesday and urged French officials to “get to the bottom of the incident as soon as possible.”

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Cars were set on fire in Paris as part of the protest following the police killing  of a Chinese man

Chinese authorities “hope that Chinese nationals in France can express their wishes and demands in a reasonable way,” Hua said.

Residents and police gave conflicting accounts of what happened before the man was shot to death by police on Sunday evening.

Police said an officer fired in self-defense during a raid after the man wounded an officer with a “bladed weapon.” Rumors circulated among Chinese immigrants that 56-year-old Shaoyo Liu was in front of his children while cutting up fish with scissors and had not hurt anyone.

Protesters outraged by the killing and baton-wielding police clashed for several hours on Monday night. Three police officers were injured and 35 protesters arrested, authorities said Tuesday.

With chants of “murderers” and candles that spelled “opposition to violence” lining the road, scores of demonstrators broke down barricades, threw projectiles and set fire to cars.

Authorities said 26 demonstrators were held for participating in a group planning violence, six for throwing projectiles, and three others for violence against police that saw a police car damaged by arson.

Witnesses said that one man of Chinese origin was injured in the clashes, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

France’s Foreign Ministry responded Tuesday by calling the security of Chinese in France “a priority.”

The ministry confirmed that an inquiry has started to shed light on the circumstances of the shooting.

The move did not calm some 100 people from Paris’ Asian community who gathered at the police station on Tuesday afternoon, including families and friends of people detained the night before.

“Justice must be done, the killer must be punished!” the protesters shouted.

A meeting of the Chinese community in Paris was planned to discuss possible further actions.

France is home to Europe’s largest population of ethnic Chinese, a community that routinely accuses police of not doing enough to protect it from racism.

In September, 15,000 people rallied in the French capital to urge an end to violence against the Asian community after the beating death of Chinese tailor Chaolin Zhangh called attention to ethnic tensions in Paris immigrant suburbs. The victim’s lawyer said the August 2016 attack was ethnically motivated.

“Chinese are victims of racist attitudes in France, especially from other ethnic groups,” Pierre Picquart, an expert on China at the University of Paris VIII, said. “They are targets for crime because they often carry cash and many don’t have residence permits, so can be threatened easily. They’re angry with police for not protecting them enough.”

“Chinese people do not like to protest or express themselves publicly, so when we see them like this, it means they are very, very angry. They’ve had enough of discrimination,” Picquart added.

He estimated that there are 2 million people of Chinese origin living in France, a country with a population of about 66 million.

The recent killing and clashes came after thousands of people marched in Paris to condemn the alleged rape in February of a young black man by police.

The alleged incident in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois turned the 22-year-old, identified only as Theo, into a symbol for minorities standing up to police violence.


Associated Press writer Louise Watt in Beijing and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.


Paris suffers almost 2 years of unrest:

 (June 15, 2016)

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Paris, June 14, 2016

There were other disturbing scenes of public violence that add to this list and the perception of a city (Paris) with a severe security situation….

Paris Labour Reform Protests:

Rail workers and taxi drivers are also on strike, disrupting transport.

Demonstrators clash with police officers during a protest against proposed labour reforms in Paris, 14 June

AFP photo

Protesters gather during a demonstration against proposed labour reforms near the Grand Palais, in Paris on June 14, 2016


Masked youths and French police clash during a demonstration in Paris as part of nationwide protests against plans to reform French labour laws, France, June 14, 2016.


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French President François Hollande and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls prior to the weekly cabinet meeting at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 15, 2016 Christophe Petit Tesson, EPA


Masked youths face off with French police and gendarmes during clashes at the Invalides square during a demonstration in Paris as part of nationwide protests against plans to reform French labour laws.


French CRS riot police apprehend a demonstrator during clashes at the Invalides square during a demonstration in Paris as part of nationwide protests against plans to reform French labour laws.


A shopping cart burns as protesters gather near the Invalides during a demonstration against proposed labour reforms in Paris on June 14, 2016.



France Investigating Police Killing of Chinese Man in Paris

The French authorities confirmed on Tuesday that they were investigating the fatal shooting by the police of a Chinese man at his home in Paris during the weekend. A lawyer for the man’s family said the killing was not justified, and the Chinese government called for a thorough investigation.

Members of the Chinese community in Paris have been protesting the killing, and the demonstrations turned violent on Monday night, with the police arresting 35 people, officials said.

The death of the man, identified in news reports as Liu Shaoyo, 56, comes at a time of heightened unease in France’s Asian community. Many Asian immigrants live in poorer neighborhoods in eastern Paris and the capital’s eastern suburbs. Last year, the death of a Chinese tailor who had been beaten by a gang of youths in a Paris suburb prompted protests.

The police went to Mr. Liu’s home on Sunday, according to French news accounts, in response to a call from a neighbor. An officer shot Mr. Liu, who was holding a pair of scissors, as the door opened.

Although the exact circumstances of Mr. Liu’s death remained unclear on Tuesday, and the police declined to comment, local news organizations quoted police sources who said Mr. Liu had moved to assault one of the officers on his doorstep.

Mr. Liu’s relatives disputed that account, and said the shooting was not an act of self-defense, according to their lawyer, Calvin Job.

Mr. Liu, an unemployed father of four, was making dinner for his children, cutting fish with the scissors, Mr. Job said. There were loud bangs on the door, and Mr. Liu went to answer, scissors in hand. But, Mr. Job said, Mr. Liu had not yet reached the door when the police forced it open and shot him as he stood next to his daughter.

“I understand the anger in the community,” Mr. Job said in an interview. Several of his clients of Asian ancestry had complained of police violence recently, he said.

The national police disciplinary body was set to hear from Mr. Liu’s relatives on Tuesday afternoon. His relatives’ lawyer said they would also file a complaint.

Some of the roughly 150 protesters who gathered at a police station in the 19th arrondissement in northeast Paris, where Mr. Liu was killed, threw objects at officers and set cars on fire. Three officers were said to have been lightly wounded, according to Agence France-Presse.


Read it all:

Beijing demands answers after Paris police shoot dead Chinese national

March 28, 2017

China has summoned a French embassy representative after Paris police shot and killed a Chinese national in his Paris apartment. The shooting has prompted clashes between authorities and Paris’ Chinese community.

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France’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday launched an enquiry into the killing of a Chinese national by Paris police after Beijing filed an official complaint and urged French officials to “get to the bottom of the incident as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that the steps should be taken to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens living France after around 100 members of the Chinese community protested in the French capital Monday night.

The French Foreign Ministry also sought to calm concerns in Beijing, saying the security of Chinese citizens was a priority. “Additional (security) measures have been taken in recent months and everything has been done to provide them with the best conditions for living here and for their security,” the ministry said in a statement.

Three policemen were injured and 35 people were arrested in Monday night’s demonstrations in the northeast of the capital. One police vehicle was damaged by an incendiary device.

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Police stood in front of the police station in the 19th arrondissement on Monday night

Victim’s family disputes official version of events

Sunday’s incident saw police shoot dead a Chinese national in his apartment in front of his family. The police officer had been called to the scene to investigate an alleged altercation with a neighbor. Paris authorities maintain that the man attacked the policeman with scissors.

However, lawyer Calvin Job said the family of the dead man “totally disputes this version of events,” saying that the man, a father of four, had been trimming fish with the scissors when police came to the door.

“Police forced open the door of the apartment, pushing him back,” Job said, adding that the police “shot without warning” even though the man did not rush towards them.

No automatic alt text available.

About a hundred people from the Chinese community took part in the protest

Discrimination against France’s Chinese population

France’s Chinese population has routinely accused the police of not doing enough to protect them from racism, as well as the media of neglecting their plight.

“Chinese are victims of racist attitudes in France – especially from other ethnic groups like Arabs,” Pierre Picquart, Chinese expert at the University of Paris VIII, said. “They are targets for crime because they often carry cash and many don’t have residence permits, so can be threatened easily. They’re angry with police for not protecting them enough.”

Last September, some 15,000 people rallied protest calling for an end to discriminatory violence and ethnic tensions after a Chinese tailor was beaten to death.

“Chinese people do not like to protest or express themselves publicly, so when we see them like this it means they are very, very angry,” Picquart said. “They’ve had enough of discrimination.”

France is home to some two million ethnic Chinese, more than any other European country.

dm/jm (AFP, AP)




France Faces Rail Strike — Police plan a demonstration of their own to vent frustration

May 18, 2016


An individual wearing a garbage pail and carrying a sign reading “decapitalism” marches as demonstrators gather on May 17, 2016 in Nantes, western France, to protest against the government’s planned labour law reforms. AFP / JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD


May 18, 2016

PARIS — Strikes by French railway and port workers halved train services and prompted cancellation of ferry links to Britain on Wednesday as labour unions sought to force President Francois Hollande’s government into retreat on labour law reforms.

After weeks of protests in which hundreds of them have been hurt, police planned a demonstration of their own to vent frustration over the stresses produced by near daily clashes with gangs of violent youths on the fringes of the anti-reform movement.

Wednesday’s rail strikes, set to run until Friday morning, reduced high-speed and inter-city services by 40 to 50 percent, also heavily disrupting local and suburban commuter lines, the SNCF state railway company said.

Brittany Ferries announced mass cancellations of connections between Britain and northern France, where port workers joined the industrial action.

Truckers maintained blockades set up on Tuesday in a bid to strangle deliveries in and out of fuel and food distribution depots.

At issue is one of Hollande’s flagship reforms a year from a presidential election, law changes designed to make it easier for employers to hire and fire staff and to opt out of cumbersome national rules in favour of in-house accords on pay.

Hollande’s government says the change will encourage firms to recruit and combat an unemployment that has remained above 10 10 percent.

Protesters throw objects at police in Nantes  Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The Socialist leader has said he will not consider running for re-election if he fails to make inroads against joblessness but critics say the reform will totally undermine the standards of protection enshrined for decades in national labour law.

The plan, opposed by three in four French people, according to pollsters, has provoked weeks of often violent demonstrations and added strains on police who were already stretched by extra security duties in the wake of last November’s deadly Islamist attacks on France.

Condemning what it described as mounting “anti-cop hatred”, the Alliance police union called for a midday Wednesday rally in Paris’s Place de la Republique, scene of regular skirmishes in past weeks between police and youths hurling petrol bombs and paving stones.

Paris police chief Michel Cadot banned a counter-protest by a group that accuses the police of brutality.

Further strikes and protests are planned for the rest of the week in what labour unions and other opponents hope will prove a big enough show of force to make Hollande reconsider.

(Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus)


Demonstrators gather in Nantes to protest against the government’s planned labour law reforms Credit: AFP/Getty Images


Man arrested in connection with Paris attacks

December 15, 2015


A policeman stands outside the Bataclan concert venue, one of the scenes of November’s terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 dead. Dominique Faget / AFP

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2015-12-15

A 29-year-old man was arrested in the Paris region on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the November 13 attacks on the city that left 130 dead, a judicial source said.

The man, suspected of being involved on the “fringes” of the attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, was arrested at his home in Villiers-sur-Marne in the eastern suburbs of the French capital, a source close to the investigation told Reuters.

A vast police investigation has seen 2,700 raids conducted since the attacks, with 360 people placed under house arrest across France.

Investigators are still actively looking for several people, including key suspect Abdeslam Salah who was last seen on November 14 in Brussels and is still at large despite being the subject of a international manhunt.

Paris Continues Police Checks On Mosques, Possible Islamic State Jihadists

December 2, 2015

PARIS (Reuters) – Police shut a mosque east of Paris and arrested the owner of a revolver found in related raids on Wednesday as part of a crackdown called after the Nov. 13 attacks on the capital, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

He told journalists authorities had closed another two mosques last week – the first time France has taken such action against places of worship suspected of nurturing what he called “Islamist radicalization”.

Security officers found jihadist documents in the raids at the mosque and related premised in Lagny-sur-Marne on Wednesday, placed a total of nine people under house arrest and banned another 22 from leaving the country, Cazeneuve said.

France, which declared a state of emergency after the Islamist attacks on Paris, has so far raided 2,235 homes and buildings, taken 232 people into custody and confiscated 334 weapons, 34 of then war-grade, Cazeneuve told reporters.

“In 15 days we have seized one-third of the quantity of war-grade weapons that are normally seized in a year,” Cazeneuve said.

The other two mosques closed last week were in Gennevilliers, northwest of Paris, and in the southeastern city of Lyon, he added.

(Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

France launches new airstrikes, continues manhunt at home

November 17, 2015


Policeman outside Louvre museum, Paris – 17 November 2015

By Missy Ryan, Daniela Deane and Brian Murphy November 17 at 6:47 AM
The Washington Post

PARIS — France launched new airstrikes on the Islamic State’s main stronghold in Syria on Tuesday and police carried out more than 120 anti-terrorism raids throughout France as the country’s dual strategies took shape in the wake of the Paris attacks.

At home, France is moving aggressively to lead probes into Friday’s massacres and seeks to undercut other potential militants with police sweeps and tougher security measures. In Syria, meanwhile, France has unleashed warplanes and has urged for a “grand coalition” possibly uniting U.S.-led forces and Russia to confront the militant group.

French military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron said the latest wave of airstrikes on Islamic State’s de facto capital, Raqqa, destroyed a command post and training camp, news agencies reported.

Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said authorities carried out 128 anti-terrorism police sweeps overnight as part of the widening crackdowns after the attacks that killed at least 129 people and wounded more than 350.

That brings the total to nearly 300 raids since Monday across France and neighboring Belgium, which has emerged as a possible hub for some of the Paris plotters.

Play Video1:19What we know about the Paris terror suspects

Authorities say as many as 20 people may have been involved in the plot to attack Paris. Here’s what we know about them so far. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)
[The Belgian militant at heart of the probe]

Austrian Glock 17 guns (left, background) are seen as a French National Police Intervention Group member (GIPN, Groupement d’Intervention de la Police Nationale), a French police special unit,stands in the a gun room before an exercise on November 10, 2011 in Rennes, western France. AFP PHOTO DAMIEN MEYER

Cazeneuve said that “the majority of those who were involved in this attack were unknown to our services,” news agencies reported.

He said 115,000 police, gendarmes and soldiers have been mobilized to protect French citizens. He pledged to boost funding for police equipment — which he said that dropped by 17 percent from 2007 to 2012, they reported.

France’s moves come one day after French leaders vowed to hunt down Islamic State militants behind last Friday’s attacks as European authorities intensified efforts to untangle a plot they believe leads all the way back to Syria.

In a speech to French lawmakers on Monday, President François Hollande promised an unforgiving campaign against the Islamic State and proposed changes to France’s constitution to help authorities beat back militant threats.
“It is not about containing but about destroying that organization,” Hollande said before the members of Parliament stood to sing the national anthem. “They are not out of our reach.”

“Friday’s acts of war were decided and planned in Syria,” he told parliament. “They were organized in Belgium and perpetrated on our soil with French complicity with one specific goal: to sow fear and to divide us.”

Remembering the victims of Friday’s attacks in Paris

[Violence and chaos at center of Islamic State’s end-of-days ideology]

The French president said Syria had become “the biggest factory of terrorism the world has ever known and the international community is still too divided and too incoherent.”

Hollande is expected to put forward a bill this week to extend a state of emergency for three months, enhancing police power to restrict freedom of movement and gatherings at public places.

At Versailles, he also proposed constitutional changes that would allow authorities to withdraw French citizenship from people with dual nationality, even if they were born in France, and to prevent French terrorism suspects from returning to France.

Hollande said he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama in coming days seeking what he called a “grand coalition” against the Islamic State.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry, on an unscheduled stop in Paris, said Tuesday that Islamic State was losing territory in the Middle East and that the Western-backed coalition is making inroads against the group.

“The level of cooperation could not be higher,” he said. “We agreed to exchange more information and I’m convinced that over the course of the next weeks, Daesch will feel greater pressure. They are feeling it today. They felt it yesterday. They felt it in the past weeks. We gained more territory. Daesch has less territory,” Kerry said, referring to the Arabic name for Islamic State.

[Purported Islamic State video threatens Washington ]

As the investigations expanded, authorities were zeroing in on the role of a man they believe is a key figure in the Islamic State’s operations in Europe and possibly played a coordinating role in the Paris plot from Syria.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 28-year-old Belgian national of Moroccan descent, has already been linked to a number of terrorist attempts in Europe this year, including a foiled assault aboard a high-speed Paris-bound train in August.

A French official familiar with the case described Abaaoud as the “guru” of several assailants, including Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old believed to have taken part in Friday’s bloodshed who is now the subject of an international dragnet.

While the expanding investigation produced tantalizing clues about possible plotters, it also underscored the limitations of Western security agencies as they face homegrown terrorism plots.

New information about the attackers showed that at least some were known to French and Belgian security officials. Turkish and Iraqi officials also reported having warned Western officials about potential threats ahead of Friday’s attacks.

[The Belgian neighborhood indelibly linked to jihad]

Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said the attack was “organized, conceived and planned” from Syria. Waves of migrants fleeing the civil war there have traveled to Europe, raising worries that militants could also have used the exodus as way into the continent.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also said emerging intelligence about the plot suggests that it originated in Syria. “It certainly looks as if the general plotting originated in Syria,” Schiff said in Washington, adding that it remains unclear “to what degree operatives in Europe may have been exercising their own discretion in choice of timing and targets.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff

Schiff spoke after he and other lawmakers received a briefing Monday. He declined to elaborate, but said the Islamic State “has been trying to plant operatives in Europe for some time, building up their external operations, and France has been a primary target.”

[Schools grapple with how to cope with Paris attacks]

In Brussels on Monday, dozens of Belgian police officers sealed off a street in the largely Muslim Molenbeek district and conducted a raid there, but they failed to catch the fugitive they were seeking.

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