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Unnamed Yellow Vests in Paris #fundie france24.com

The Paris prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into allegations that Yellow Vest protesters assailed police over the weekend with taunts urging officers to kill themselves.

Yellow Vests took to the streets of Paris for a 23rd consecutive Saturday this weekend, facing off against police at the city’s historic Place de la République, where protesters chanted at officers to “commit suicide”.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner swiftly condemned the incident. "Shame on those who have given into such ignominy," he said in a tweet.

On Sunday, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an inquiry into “contempt of a person carrying out public authority at a rally”.

« Suicidez-vous ! », scandent certains manifestants aux forces de l’ordre place de la République pic.twitter.com/rqtFmnvuBO

Lucas Burel (@L_heguiaphal) April 20, 2019

The jeers have struck a nerve in France, where the number of police suicides are on the rise. Twenty-eight officers have taken their own lives so far this year, the Information and Communication Service of the National Police (SICoP) confirmed to FRANCE 24.

At that rate, there is around one police suicide every four days. The statistic is high in comparison with previous years, and is a growing source of concern for police unions.

‘A convulsion of hatred’

Over the last decade, there have been an average of 44 law enforcement suicides a year in France, according to official data. That figure spiked in 2014, when at least 55 officers took their own lives. Just four months into 2019, there have already been more than half that many deaths.

"We have reached a convulsion of hatred. These words are intolerable and unacceptable," Frédéric Lagache, director of France’s main police union, Alliance, told AFP. "It is an insult to all the police who have died, to their families and to the institution as a whole."

It is not the first time Yellow Vests have goaded police to commit suicide. Similar chants could be heard earlier this month during protests in the southern city of Toulouse, according to the ALTERNATIVE Police CFDT union.

Protesters accuse the police of heavy-handed tactics. At least 144 Yellow Vests have been seriously injured since the start of the movement in November, according to a tally by French newspaper Libération.

“These chants incite real hatred against the police, and the interior and justice ministries must demonstrate firmness by pursuing any legal action that may be brought,” ALTERNATIVE Police CFDT said in a statement on Saturday.

Although there is no clear single cause for the high rate of suicides, police unions have pointed to the relentless pressures of the job.

“Too often, the straw that breaks the camel’s back is working conditions, the strain and distress of which push some officers to the point of this irrevocable act,” ALTERNATIVE Police CFDT said in its statement.

In an effort to tackle the issue, former interior minister Gérard Collomb launched a police suicide prevention programme in May 2018 that promised to provide greater support to at-risk officers. The government’s initiative, however, has apparently failed to curb the suicide rate.

Just last week, national police chief Éric Morvan penned an emotional letter acknowledging the severity of the problem, after two officers took their own lives on the same day.

“We have to talk about it. Without fear of being judged. We have to confide in others, to convince ourselves that talking about anxiety is not a weakness,” he wrote.

The police suicide rate in France is 36 percent higher than that for the general population, according to a 2018 senate report. On average, there are an estimated 14 suicides per 100,000 residents in the country each year.

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Unnamed anti-Semites in France #racist france24.com

A tree planted in a Paris suburb in memory of a young Jewish man who was tortured to death in 2006 has been chopped down, authorities said Monday, confirming the latest in a series of anti-Semitic acts in France.

Ilan Halimi was kidnapped by a gang that demanded huge sums of money from his family, believing them to be rich because he was Jewish.

After being tortured for three weeks, the 23-year-old cellphone salesman was found dumped next to a railway in the southern suburb of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois. He died while being brought to hospital.

On Monday, municipal workers sent to prepare a memorial site for a annual remembrance ceremony this week discovered that a tree planted in his honour had been chopped down and a second one partly sawn through, local officials told AFP.

The police are investigating the incident, which the French government's special representative on racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination, Frederic Potier, described as "ignominious".

It is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic acts and attacks that have raised fears of a new wave of anti-Jewish violence in a country that is home to Europe's biggest Jewish population.

In two separate incidents in the past two days, swastikas were drawn on Paris postboxes containing portraits of late Holocaust survivor Simone Veil and the word Juden (German for Jews) was sprayed on the window of a bagel bakery in the capital.

The incident involving the postboxes was reported by artist Christian Guemy, who painted the portraits of Veil on the boxes in the city's 13th district to mark her burial last year at the Pantheon, final resting place of France's most illustrious figures.

A former justice minister, Veil was a hugely respected figure whose death in 2017 caused a national outpouring of emotion.

"Shame on the despicable person that disfigured my tribute to Simeon Veil, Holocaust survivor," Guemy tweeted Monday along with pictures of the boxes.

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Éric Zemmour #fundie france24.com

“The suicide of France: the 40 years that defeated France” is Eric Zemmour’s scathing attack on the failures of the country’s leadership and its elites since the end of the Gaullist era in 1969.

Alongside economic stagnation, immigration has killed France’s cultural identity, writes Zemmour, a popular if controversial figure whose outlook is seen as drifting ever closer to the far-right. In a review of his book this week, left-leaning daily Libération opens its article calling him “sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic”.

Perhaps most controversially, Zemmour states that the dark days of Vichy France during the Nazi occupation are both misunderstood and misrepresented, victim of an historical orthodoxy that views everything about the collaborationist regime in terms of “absolute evil”.

[...]

For Paxton, the fact that a quarter of Jews living in France during the war perished was part of a wide-ranging and deliberately anti-Semitic collaborationist policy.

But Zemmour leaps to the Vichy leadership’s defence – insisting that the surviving 75 percent were “saved by the strategy of [Vichy leader] Philippe Pétain and [wartime Prime Minister] Pierre Laval in the face of German demands”.

Specifically, he says they deliberately “sacrificed foreign Jews (living in France) in order to save French Jews”.

While stopping short of praising Pétain and Laval, Zemmour wants his readers to understand that there is a “difference between morality...and political efficiency” when making their judgement on the Vichy regime.

[Hyperlink original]

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Three unnamed robbers from Créteil #racist france24.com

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Thursday condemned the brutal attack on a young couple in the Parisian suburb of Creteil, and highlighted the anti-Semitic nature of the incident in which a 19-year-old woman was raped.

The attack took place on Monday, when a 21-year-old man and his girlfriend were sitting down to lunch in their apartment. Three masked and armed assailants entered the home and said, “You Jews, you have money,” as they tied the couple down, according to the family’s lawyer.

The attackers raped the young woman, before stealing bank cards, jewelry and mobile phones, a source familiar with the case told the AFP news agency.

“The horror in Creteil is proof that the fight against anti-Semitism is an everyday struggle. My support [goes out to] the family,” Valls said on Twitter on Thursday morning.

Earlier, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement that the anti-Semitic nature of the incident seemed to have been confirmed by investigators.

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Mia Mohammad Naeem #fundie france24.com

With shaggy hair and beard, and mumbling incoherently, Sher Mohammed, 40, lies curled up under the shade of a tree to which he has been chained for a month.

This is the standard "treatment" for mentally ill people who have been coming to the Mia Ali sanctuary in eastern Afghanistan for 300 years.

"Here, we don't give medication or advice, there is no other treatment than belief in God," says Mia Mohammad Naeem, one of the guardians of the shrine in Samar Khel village, 10 kilometres (six miles) from the city of Jalalabad.

"It's a spiritual treatment with the Koran and diet," he says.

At the Mia Ali sanctuary the patients, presumed to be possessed by jinns (demons), are chained by the wrist to a tree or in a concrete room, under shelter or in the open, for 40 days.

They are fed only bread and water and get no change of clothing.

In a shack close by, Ghulam Haider, 45, crouches on the ground, tirelessly writing in Arabic the different names of God and verses of the Koran on pieces of paper.

"Some of these taweez (amulets) will be poured in a glass of water and then drunk. Others will be burned or used as a necklace. Every single word of the holy Koran is healing," he says.