Video of French police beating yellow vest activist sparks uproar

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 11.03.2019 19:33

A video showing French police officers in Brittany brutally hitting a yellow vest activist with his baton while another officer holds the man in place has drawn outrage online.

The footage, recorded in the northwestern French city of Quimper on Saturday, has been watched more than 700,000 times on Facebook and Twitter.

"I was hit without a reason," the 25-year-old victim Max Barre said. He said police officers forcefully restrained him as he was crossing a bridge and started hitting his head and hands. Barre wants to sue the police officers.

A yellow vest representative told the AFP that bottles were thrown at the officers before the incident and that they had randomly picked him out of the crowd.

The prefecture said police arrested nine demonstrators and sued them for tendency to violence.

Some 30,000 people marched throughout France for the 17th consecutive weekend of protests targeting President Emmanuel Macron and his economy policies, although the number of protesters constituted only a fringe of earlier masses.

The movement, named after the fluorescent emergency vests the French are required to keep in their cars, held its first nationwide protest on Nov. 17 by blocking vehicles at traffic circles. The main complaint then was fuel tax hikes, but that long ago expanded to an array of demands to maintain pressure on the government to reverse policies they see as favoring the rich. A citizens' referendum is now among top demands on the list, along with increased purchasing power.

The yellow vests have been a major challenge to Macron, who has organized national debates around the country — many of which he attends, responding to questions. He has also offered a multibillion-euro package of measures to appease them.

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