A video showing French security officers forcing a pregnant migrant to leave a train in Menton, at the border with Italy, has sparked public outrage. The footage was published by three French students and shows a pregnant migrant being dragged out of a train by CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité) officers has gone viral, sparking outrage on social media.
The video shows how the officers took her by the arms and legs to force her out. The woman, according to the website of newspaper Nice-Matin, was travelling with her family on a train coming from Ventimiglia and was forced to get off at Menton. The video, which was posted a few days ago, went viral, prompting protests. The area's prefecture responded saying that, "if there is violence in the video, it is not from the police. It is the abnormal behavior of those who were stopped that led police to a proportionate use of force."
The prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes said there was "no flagrant violation of rights," instead pointing its finger at what happened '"afterwards, when one of the women threw a child on the tracks" once on the platform.
Police officers got off the train to rescue the child "but the video doesn't show this," the prefecture said. Prefect Georges-Franois Leclerc has stressed his "total confidence and means to defend the honor of law enforcement acting under his authority at the French-Italian border."
In the video, the officers are heard screaming "Get off, you must get off" while a man replies in English: "Why are you arresting me? I am with my wife, she is pregnant." According to Nice-Matin, the man refused to show his documents to police and the officers decided to order the family to get off at Menton.
The situation degenerated quickly with the man screaming "don't touch my wife, she is pregnant!" The woman fainted and was dragged to the station's platform.
Video goes viral
The images were filmed with a cell phone by three students from IUT (Institut Universitaire de Technologie) in Cannes — Gaspard Flamand, Ulysse Goldman and Philémon Stinesche — who were travelling back from Ventimiglia, where they had been reporting on the situation of migrants at the border. They were also checked by the CRS.
The video, filmed in February, was subsequently sent to the national observatory on police violence. It was published on the internet on March 27 where it was viewed by over 415,000 and shared by thousands.
Meanwhile, after comments by Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, who said that several French regions have been "submerged by an inflow of asylum seekers," France's National Assembly is continuing to examine new controversial legislation on asylum and immigration. Lawmakers are deciding on 600 amendments to the current immigration legislation.