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Protests against police brutality get ugly after killing of eco-activist last week

media Demonstrations in Toulouse on 1 November in memory of Rémi Fraisse turned violent. AFP PHOTO/ REMY GABALDA

In two French cities, protests over the death of an environmental activist turned violent yesterday. A sit-in is planned today in Paris in memory of the young man killed in a clash with police.

Bottles, tear gas, and rubber bullets went flying yesterday as demonstrators clashed with police in Nantes and Toulouse.

The protests were held after the death of Rémi Fraisse, a 21-year-old activist killed at the site of a contested dam in south-western France.

The work of the Sivens dam project, the cause of the original protest, has been stopped for the moment, according to the head of the region's executive council Thierry Carcenac.

It appears Fraisse was killed by a police grenade, after examinations showed traces of TNT on his clothes and skin.

Today, peaceful protests are planned for Paris’ Champ de Mars, the site of the Eiffel tower, organised by the non governmental organisation France Nature Environnement.

The French government has tried to calm public reactions, but after this new outbreak of violence, politicians forcibly condemned public reactions, with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve denouncing it as an "unacceptable outburst".

This was the first death during a protest in France since 1986.

Five protestors and three police officers were injured during the clashes yesterday, with a total of 34 arrests.

Protests were also held in French cities of Lille, Bordeaux, and Avignon.

Next week, ecology minister Ségolène Royal will bring various parties together to discuss the future of the dam, which opponents said would destroy biodiversity and bring few benefits.

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