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France

Prosecutors to investigate Yellow Vests protesters who urged police suicides

media Police officers are seen during a demonstration the 23rd consecutive national protest of the yellow vests movement in Paris (Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes)

Calls by protestors urging police to commit suicide during during the Yellow Vests 23rd weekend of demonstrations in France on Saturday, have sparked outrage across the political spectrum. The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into the incidents.

Yellow Vest protestors yelled "kill yourselves" at police in Paris, who were firing tear gas and rubber projectiles and charging the crowd to contain the violence during this weekend's demonstrations.

'Unacceptable' behavior

Police unions denounced the protesters' call as an unacceptable insult to the officers who have committed suicide and their suffering families. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner described the actions as "a disgrace".

The Paris prosecutor's office said an investigation has been opened to identify those who might be prosecuted for "group offense toward a person exercising public authority."

Police unions said that there has been 28 cases of suicide within the police force across France during the first three months this year compared to 68 overall for 2018.

Jérôme Rodrigues, one of the leading figures within the Yellow Vest movement, also condemned the protestors who engaged in these actions, saying that it taints whole the movement even if only a few people were responsible.

The leader of the National Rally (Rassemblement National), Marine Le Pen, said it was "shameful" and François-Xavier Bellamy from the oppostion Republican party said that the people responsible for the taunts should all be punished.

Situation is worsening

Ian Brossat, from the French Communist Party, told RFI that such actions couldn't be "tolerated" and the people calling for more suicides among the police force should be prosecuted.

Brossat said that situation is worsening because the government has been unable to bring a political solution to a problem which has been going on for the past five months.

"I am convinced that you cannot bring security measures to respond to a political issue," Brossat told RFI.

He added that changing the head of security in Paris did nothing to defuse tension and didn't bring any change at all.

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