A video is causing uproar in France. It shows police dragging away women of African origin.
The women were demonstrating against their eviction from a block of flats.
In the video, one can see a mother being dragged on the floor with her baby on her back.
In another scene, a pregnant woman is lying apparently unconscious on the ground.
The video was shot on July 21 and was published by the website Mediapart.fr.
It had almost 500 thousand hits by Sunday.
After the video was released, police authorities issued a statement. The statement says police had used normal force in this kind of situation.
It adds that policemen could not see the child attached on the back of his mother when she was pulled away.
[Jean-Baptiste Eyraud, Spokesman for “The Right to a Roof”] (male, French):“When I saw those pictures I must say I was shocked. I didn’t think such a level of brutality was possible. To launch against babies and pregnant women… it’s violent.”
Jean-Baptiste Eyraud is the spokesman of an association that helps immigrants find accommodation.
He was present on the day but was arrested before the police intervention.
[Jean-Baptiste Eyraud, Spokesman for “The Right to a Roof”] (male, French):
“We think there should be an investigation to understand how this happened. The explanations by the local authorities are not satisfying when they say ‘they were warned and they didn’t leave,' ‘the mother lied down on her baby,' that’s absurd, the baby fell off his mother’s back because she was dragged on the floor and that’s it. So we need sanctions to be taken. Otherwise we can suppose that the police will continue brutal interventions.”
Eyraud added, “We are very worried because we feel a climate of repression settling, a brutal and violent one, which will result in those images we see now but maybe others too.”
The families were expelled in early July this year. They have set up camp in front of the flats.
According to Eyraud, the baby in the video is doing well...