The police version of events is as follows: at 6.20pm on Camille Groult street in the south-eastern Paris suburb of Vitry cops want to collar a person they suspect of illegally opening a fire hydrant. The person runs away and is caught up, but an officer is wounded in the subsequent scuffle. The cops detain and question the suspect, his mother and two other youngsters.
Later a gathering takes place in front of the police station, which closes as a preventive measure. Then around midnight police officers are targeted by projectiles and firebombs, which they respond to with LBD (flashball) shots and grenades. The clashes last until 3am and in total, five people are arrested.
The police version is as usual simple, clear … and unrelated to reality.
Videos published on social networks published by Blocus Infos clearly show police encircling the neighborhood, pulling in people present on the square, simple passers-by, families on a walk … and shooting in the middle of the day at the LBD and throwing tear gas grenades towards random civilians.
The arrests are part of a general wave of harassment and arrests aimed at Parisians for opening fire hydrants — a common measure in the poorer suburbs of the city by people looking to cool off in the summer heatwave.
The bizarre overreaction, heavy-handed arrests of a young man, his mum and two friends who had tried to help him, and their assault on a working-class neighbourhood brought around 50 people to the doors of the local station demanding an end to police impunity, which has sparked tensions and riots all year.
Edited from Paris-Luttes.