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'Yellow Vest boxer' denied bail, prison for Arc de Triomphe vandals

media Yellow vest protests in Paris on 5 January 2018, when boxer Christophe Dettinger was filmed beating police officers Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

A boxing champion who was filmed beating two riot officers during a Yellow Vest protest on Saturday has been denied bail and is to remain in jail until his trial on 13 February. Meanwhile, six members of right wing movements were convicted to prison terms for destroying property during the 1 December Yellow Vest protest.

Christophe Dettinger, 37, a former light heavyweight champion has become a symbol of the divisions in France around the Yellow Vest movement, which started as a protest against petrol tax increases, but has turned into a larger movement against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies.

Supporters called Dettinger a hero for standing up to police officers, while critics of the movement called his actions outrageous.

In court on Wednesday, Dettinger said he had come to peacefully protest with his family, and that he regrets repeatedly punching two officers on Saturday.

“When I see these images I'm not proud of myself," he said. He said he “lost control” after seeing police "beat a young man and a woman on the ground with batons".

But the court denied him bail, saying he was a flight risk, as he ran away from police at the time, before turning himself in on Monday.

A fund set up to help him meet his legal costs raised over 117,000 euros before it was closed on Tuesday.

Six far-right convictions

A Paris court handed down prison terms, some suspended, to six men for vandalism during the 1 December Yellow Vest protest.

They were accused of spraying anti-police graffiti and throwing pieces of pavement around the Arc de Triomphe, charges they denied.

Some admitted to tagging slogans but denied accusations that they were organised as a group ahead of the protest. The six, aged 20 to 27 years old, said they went separately to the demonstration.

Security services reported that members of two ultra-right-wing groups were present at the demonstration. Some of the accused admitted being members.

Prosecutors had asked for five years of prison, but the longest term handed down was three months. Others were given suspended sentences.

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