French ministers aghast at support for boxer who fought police

Yellow Vest

The ex-boxer, identified by French media as 37-year-old Christophe Dettinger, is a former heavyweight professional fighter who reportedly works for the local government in the Essonne area south of Paris.

Nearly 8,000 donors pledged more than 116,000 euros (Dh491,000) to Mr Dettinger before indignant reaction from police unions and politicians led the crowdfunding company Leetchi to suspend the appeal.

Numerous Facebook pages entitled "Support for Christophe Dettinger" have also been set up, with one such page showing it had more than 3,000 Facebook "likes".

The tweet said: "Sir, you who punched a colleague on the ground, you have been identified".

On Monday, the boxer's relatives launched a fund raising operation in Leetchi, an online fundraising platform and a unit of insurer of Credit Mutuel Arkea bank, to help pay legal bills.

Marlène Schiappa, junior minister for equality, said: "Contributing to a fundraising kitty to support someone who attacked an officer is tantamount to being an accomplice to these grave acts of violence".

But one of the officers he injured said he felt as if the boxer intended "to cause real harm, even to kill if he could".

About 200 protesters, including trade union members and participants in the yellow vest movement, gathered Wednesday in Creteil, a Paris suburb as Macron visited a handball facility dedicated to handball gymnasium.

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He added: "I'm demonstrating for all the pensioners, for the future of my children, for single women, for everything we're fighting for".

There was a recent statement by two ministers from the Italian government who do not hide their support [for the yellow vest movement]...

Since the yellow vest demonstrations began, 5,600 people have been arrested and more than 1,000 were sentenced to prison, said Philippe.

Last Saturday, protesters used a construction vehicle to smash open the doors of the building housing the ministry of government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.

Since November, demonstrations initially triggered by a tax hike on diesel fuel and expanded to encompass the high cost of living have led to violent clashes with police in Paris and other cities.

The French media has been targeted, while mock executions of Macron have also been a feature of some gatherings, notably in the town of Angouleme in southwest France.

Around 50,000 "yellow vest" protesters took to the streets again on Saturday to denounce President Macron's policies, call for his resignation or demand more of a say in national law-making. But he struck a defiant tone in his new year address, saying the government would push on with its reform programme, and would "make no allowances in guaranteeing public order".

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