French authorities have charged a 17-year-old boy over a firebombing attack on the police in a Paris ghetto. Four officers were injured and their cars burned in the incident, prompting police to rally in protest.
Police officers protested in the streets of Paris during unauthorized night demonstrations in October
A 17-year-old boy is facing charges for "complicity in the attempted murder of persons of public authority" and is currently in detention, French prosecutor Eric Lallement said Saturday.
The unnamed youth allegedly supplied the gasoline for the October attack, when a large group swarmed around a police car and used Molotov cocktails against two police officers in the Paris suburb of Viry-Chatillon. A 28-year-old policeman suffered life-threatening burns and was placed in a medically induced coma. He is still in hospital. A female officer in the car was also badly burned on the hands and face.
The officers were guarding surveillance video cameras in an area known for widespread drug dealing, following several attempts to destroy the devices. Another two officers sent in as backup also sustained injuries.
"We believe that it was organized and premeditated," Jean-Marc Falcone, director of the national police, said of the October 8 attack.
Writing on Twitter after the attack, French politician Jean-Francois Cope decried the attacks on the police as "unacceptable."
According to prosecutors, police have also arrested a 15-year-old suspected of helping make the Molotov cocktails, calling the youth an "assisting witness."
Both suspects were detained on Thursday. The police arrested three more people last month, allegedly because they filmed the burning cars and distributed the footage online. The trio was later released.
Paris preparing response
The Viry-Chatillon violence caused outrage among French police nationwide, with hundreds of officers taking to the streets demanding "more resources and respect" in the days following the attack. Many believe the courts to be too lenient with violence against police officers.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has since announced a bill to make it easier for police to defend themselves, protect their identity and buy new equipment. The upcoming legislation should also double minimum sanctions for insulting the police.
According to a report by the National Observatory of Delinquency and Criminal Responses, 5,674 French police officers were injured in the line of duty last year.
dj/cmk (AFP, Reuters)