Make sense of ... French CRS riot police

You may have seen CRS companies out in force – and in action – during the gilets jaunes protests.

Events were tense during the recent gilets jaunes protests against fuel prices and general tax rises. On the Champs-Elysées in Paris, CRS riot officers used tear gas to push back protesters attempting to breach police lines.

They also had water cannons ready and grenades assourdissantes (stun grenades that flash and bang and are thrown into the air) were used.

One CRS member told BFM TV it was the worst situation he had seen in 19 years in the job.

“At one point they were throwing things at us and we were saying to ourselves ‘we mustn’t get to the point where we have to use our weapons in self-defence’,” he said.

The TV station reported that – in scenes reminiscent of the May 1968 student and worker protests – bottles and paving stones were thrown. Makeshift ...

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