Furious protests swept France last week over the apparent rape with a truncheon of a young black man by police officers.
The victim, identified only as Theo, is hospitalised with severe and possibly permanent injuries. He had objected when officers allegedly slapped a teenager during a stop and search.
Around 5,000 people protested in Bobigny, Paris, on Saturday, with smaller protests in other cities. There has been some rioting, with cars, bins and bus stops burned and windows smashed.
Police fed the media a story that they had saved a little girl from a burning car at Bobigny. It soon transpired that she was saved by a black teenage protester and the car wasn’t on fire.
It follows a number of protests in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois where the assault took place.
Young people in the area told journalists the spot where it happened was a notorious blind spot for CCTV cameras where police regularly took them for beatings.
Politicians rushed to appeal for “calm”, with president Francois Hollande even turning up at Theo’s hospital bed to extort such a call from the victim himself.
But the cops’ arrogance has undermined attempts to manage the outrage.
Their watchdog ruled that the forcible insertion of a truncheon into Theo’s anus was not rape but an “accident”. Then a leader of the police union told TV audiences that the racist insult used by Theo’s abusers was actually “just about appropriate”.
Police clamped down viciously in Aulnay with more stop and searches, arrests, and even the firing of live ammunition.
Their shots were fired as parliament voted on its last new law before the election, granting them more powers to do so—a victory for cops’ own protest marches.
These were led by a supporter of the fascist Front National, which is expected to get the votes of around 50 percent of police officers in the coming presidential election.
The party is gaining from a corruption scandal dogging right wing former front-runner Francois Fillon, who paid his wife richly at public expense for an allegedly fictional job.
Last year the death in custody of Adama Traore, the hounding of his siblings, and the violent repression of strikes and protests had already highlighted the viciousness of the police.
The response to Theo’s rape has galvanised that anger, and could feed into an anti-racist “March for Dignity” on Sunday 19 March.
With the cops and their fascist ally on the front foot, the need for resistance is urgent.