Hundreds of people marched through Paris after a man was taken to hospital after allegedly being sexually assaulted by police officers.
On Sunday evening (5 February) a car was set on fire, bus shelters were damaged and an area was plunged into darkness after street lighting was vandalised. At least five people were arrested, police sources said.
Behind a banner 'Justice for Theo', a large crowd walked towards the police station singing the Marseillaise, according to Le Figaro.
The 22-year-old male identified only as Theo was allegedly assaulted with a baton during an ID check in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.
Theo claims he was told by police to stand against a wall when the incident took place. "I saw him with his baton. He rammed it into my buttocks on purpose. I fell onto my stomach, I had no strength left," he said in an interview with French television station BFM on Monday (6 February).
In a recording of his account of events to his lawyer, Theo said: "They sprayed tear gas in my face and then I had an ephemeral pain in my buttocks. My trousers were lowered. I was in serious pain," according to the Independent.
The young man was taken to a police station. On arrival, "A bleeding is observed at the level of the buttocks and the firemen are called," a police source told AFP. He was taken to the Robert Ballanger hospital in Aulnay and examined by a doctor who diagnosed a "tear of the anus over 10 cm". Theo suffered severe anal injuries which required surgery as well as injuries to his head and face.
One police officer has been charged with rape and another three have been charged with assault. All four officers have been suspended "immediately and on a precautionary basis", Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux told Le Monde.
"Of course we're upset ... this is really disgusting," Omar, a local who witnessed the alleged incident, told Le Parisian.
The mayor of Paris, Bruno Beschizza, confirmed that Theo suffered serious injuries in the course of being arrested but defended law enforcement officials to Le Parisen, saying: "The police are there to protect and not humiliate our fellow citizens."