Two Turkish-French women were violently manhandled by the police last week in France’s Grand Est region.
Video and photos of the incident sparked outrage on social media, with some people accusing the French police of discrimination.
One of the women, 22-year-old Hatice Beyazit, told Anadolu Agency that she and her cousin Sevim Kocaturk had gone out for dinner on Oct. 17 when the police pulled them over for a routine traffic stop.
But things went awry after the officer referred to an old incident involving Sevim’s brother. She replied, saying: “I’m driving the car, not my brother.”
The police officer angrily responded, saying: “Shut up!” Hatice recalled.
Later, Hatice’s aunt and uncle arrived to calm the situation, but they were also subjected to discrimination.
"A police officer started to approach me, so I stretched out my arm asking him to respect the social distancing rule of 1.5 meters [to safeguard against the coronavirus], since he had no mask," Hatice said.
“The moment I said that, he grabbed my arm,” she said.
The police also fired tear gas against Sevim, who was trying to come to her aid, Hatice said.
Hatice’s aunt was also struck by the police while she was trying to record the violence on her phone.
Noting that she has not seen such incidents in their region before, Hatice said: "While talking about the rules, one of the police said to Sevim, 'This is not your country. You cannot know the rules.'”
They went to the hospital the same night on the advice of their lawyer and also filed a complaint against the police.
A police investigation into the incident continues, officials told Anadolu Agency.
Hatice, a graduate of business school, said she chairs an association called “Children’s Aid in Hospital” which helps hospitalized children as well as the elderly.
Noting that she could not find enough support, she said she always worked for the benefit of French society.
An Uber driver named Zohir who recorded the incident said he heard the police officer saying "You are not a citizen of this country. You cannot know the rules of this country. You do not speak French."/aa