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Paris policeman is filmed 'repeatedly punching' bloodied male protester who was lying wounded on the ground during anti-Macron riots is at centre of criminal probe

17:57 19 January 2020 Author :  

•             Mobile phone footage caught the officer striking the male repeatedly

•             Riot police held back protesters who shouted that the actions were 'disgusting'

•             Prosecutors in France have confirmed a criminal enquiry has been opened

This is the unnerving moment an injured young man is repeatedly punched by a riot policeman in Paris.

Mobile phone footage caught the officer striking the man repeatedly as fellow officers hold back protesters outside the Gare de l'est station, north Paris. They can be heard shouting: 'Look - did you see what your colleague did? Disgusting!'

French prosecutors have confirmed a criminal enquiry has been opened into 'violence by a person in public authority' with specialist police leading the enquiry.

The victim and police officer are yet to be named.

Disturbing footage posted on Twitter shows the officer punch the man twice, who is bleeding from the face, before leaning onto his body to hold him down.

Protesters push the police and try to get to the individual to help them as other riot police officers hold them off.

In the clip, protesters can be heard shouting: 'Look - did you see what your colleague did? Disgusting - look what he did! It's disgusting!'

One protester said they thought the assault brought 'shame on France'.

There have been frequent claims of police brutality during more than six weeks of demonstrations and strikes against President Emmanuel Macron's government.

On Saturday, Mr Macron's favourite Paris restaurant was firebombed as crowds of anti-government protesters went on the rampage.

A Molotov cocktail was thrown through a window of the upmarket La Rotonde before dawn.

Fire quickly spread, causing extensive damage to the restaurant where Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte famously celebrated his 2017 presidential election triumph.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but within hours of the attack thousands of anti-Macron demonstrators were setting fire to other parts of Paris.

Yellow Vests - who are named after their distinctive fluorescent motoring jackets - took part in a march which also quickly descended into violence.

There were at least 35 arrests, mainly for public order offences including vandalism and fighting.

It all added up to another horror weekend for President Macron, who is trying to reform France's pension regime in the face of increasingly violent protests.

On Friday night he was evacuated from a packed theatre by armed riot police after a mob tried to reach him.

The major security scare saw the Macrons leaving the Bouffes du Nord in the 10th arrondissement of Paris soon after 10pm.

Video posted on Twitter showed around 30 demonstrators storming the doors of the historic theatre, which is close to the Eurostar railway station in the city.

A presidential source confirmed the evacuation, saying the Macron later returned to the theatre to watch the play - a modernist drama called The Fly.

There have been six weeks of strikes and often violent protests in major cities across France including Paris.

Mr Macron's overall plan is to replace the current system of 42 different pension regimes with a single, points-based system that will be the same for everybody.

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