Marine Le Pen seeks ban on anti-police brutality protests

Paris, Feb 18 (IANS) The French far-right presidential candidate has called on authorities to prohibit demonstrations against police brutality that were scheduled to take place on Saturday.

National Front leader Marine Le Pen released an official statement in which she criticised the government’s response to a wave of protests that has swept across France since an alleged case of police brutality on a young black man from a low-income Paris suburb.

“We must put an end to the ultra-violent extreme-left militias to which the authorities are showing great complacency,” said Le Pen in a statement.

The widespread protests, which have particularly affected the low-income suburbs of French cities known as banlieues, were sparked when a man identified only as “Theo,” said he sustained an anal tear after being sodomised with a police truncheon during his arrest on February 2, Efe news reported.

“Its incomprehensible that the (Socialist Party) government has not taken the necessary measures to prohibit this form of protest in order to guarantee the order of the Republic,” the statement said.

Le Pen is tipped to be one of the favourites in the upcoming French general elections, the first round of which is set for April 23.

Theo, 22, became a protest symbol since his violent arrest in the Aulnay-sous-Bois neighbourhood of Paris.

The young man, who has a part-time job as a social worker but is trying to become a soccer player, left hospital on Thursday after a two week stay, during which he received a visit from President Francois Hollande.

Four of the officers involved in his arrest were charged with violent conduct, and one of them was charged additionally with rape.

The investigation into the events were ongoing, as were the protests.