French police protest ban on chokeholds after Floyd's death


French police are protesting a new ban on chokeholds and limits to what they can do during arrests, part of government efforts to stem police brutality and racism in the wake of global protests over George Floyd’s death in the U.S.

Police from the union Unite SGP Police FO laid their handcuffs on the ground outside some police stations around France on Thursday night in a symbolic protest, and another union plans an action in Paris on Friday.

Police unions are meeting Thursday and Friday with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to discuss changes to police tactics, after Castaner announced Monday that police would no longer be taught to seize suspects by the neck or push on their necks. Castaner stopped short of banning another technique — pressing on a prone suspect’s chest — that also has been blamed for leading to asphyxiation and possible death.

Such immobilization techniques have come under growing criticism since Floyd’s death. But French police say the new restrictions go too far.

“They want to prevent us from working,” Unite SGP Police FO representative Yves Lefebvre said on BFM television. “Mr. Castaner appears to have heard us, but not heard us enough.”

France has seen several protests sparked by Floyd’s death, and another is planned Saturday.

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