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Man, 26, loses testicle after police officer 'clubbed him in the groin' during French protests
23 January 2023, 15:59 | Updated: 23 January 2023, 16:34
A man, 26, had to have a testicle amputated after a police officer clubbed him in the groin during pension reform protests in Paris last week, according to the man's lawyer.
The man claimed he was filming the demonstrations when the incident occurred.
The unnamed man, who is identified in French media reports as Ivan S, has lodged a complaint against the Parisian police over the alleged use of excessive force.
France’s Liberation newspaper identified the man as an engineer “in a large French company” who was at the demonstration that took place last week against the government’s pension reforms.
Around a million people took part in protests across the country and over 80,000 were in attendance in the biggest rally in Paris.
They were coming out in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the age of retirement by two years to 64.
“In the family, there is a strong union tradition, more on the public service side. I have already demonstrated several times, including with my 60-year-old aunts,” he said.
He was quoted by the French outlet as saying that he was forced to submit a complaint “so that it stops; because I am not the first person to suffer violence from police officers”.
The man alleged he was knocked to the ground by police, and that soon as he fell to the ground, another police officer charged at him and struck his groin with a baton.
Images and footage from the protests being shared online show a police officer striking a man on the ground between the legs, and then leaving. The man is seen holding holding a camera.
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez has ordered an inquiry into the incident, which occurred during a surge of violence at a largely peaceful march.
The French engineer’s lawyer Lucie Simon said she was putting in a complaint on his behalf for “voluntary violence that led to mutilation by a person vested with public authority”.
“It was such a strong blow that he had to have a testicle amputated. This is not a case of self-defence or necessity. The proof is in the images we have and the fact that he was then not arrested.”
Images and footage from Thursday’s demonstrations circulating online show a policeman hitting a man on the ground between the legs, and then leaving. The man is seen holding a camera.
Government spokesperson Olivier Veran told a local outlet that he felt “empathy” for the young man, but stressed “the need to understand the conditions in which this intervention occurred”.
The retirement age has been pushed up as a result of a long-delayed and controversial overhaul to the pension system, a central pillar of the President's reformist agenda with he won power in 2017.
“I’m well aware that changing our pension system raises questions and fears among the French,” French PM Elisabeth Borne said earlier this month.
She added that the government would work on convincing the public that the reform was needed.
“We offer today a project to balance our pension system, a project that is fair,” she said.