"Respect our police" - wives of French officers berate government

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PARIS (Reuters) - Several dozen women protested in support of French police in central Paris on Saturday, as discontent within the country’s law enforcement agencies swells over what they feel is the government’s unfair treatment of officers over racism.

Police have been holding wildcat protests everyday in towns and cities across France at government attempts to change their practices and punish officers suspected of racism.

Police unions accuse the government of scapegoating them for deep-rooted social ills in an attempt to quell public anger after the killing of George Floyd unleashed protests in France as anger at police violence and racism swept the world.

Many among the women protesting outside the Paris police headquarters were wives and partners of officers. One carried a message for Interior Minister Christophe Castaner: “Respect our police.”

Castaner infuriated police this month when he acknowledged there were cases of racism in the force and proposed punishing any officer guilty of “proven suspicions of racism”.

Hundreds of police protested on Friday night outside Paris’ Bataclan concert hall, where 90 people were killed in an attack by Islamist militants in 2015.

Reporting by Christian Hartmann; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Alison Williams