In a reaction to criticism of racist police practices, France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin filed a libel suit against Audrey Pulvar, the Socialist candidate for the Ile-de-France region's presidency.
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Darmanin said that her words "go beyond the simple framework of an electoral campaign and come to deeply defame the Police of the Republic.
On Saturday, Pulvar spoke about an unusual demonstration of thousands of police officers on May 19 in which the police unions demanded stiffer penalties against aggressors of law enforcement officers, and harshly criticized the actions of the Justice. Their demonstration was attended by several political leaders, including the Interior Minister himself.
The Socialist politician claimed that the police demonstration, which would have been supported by the French far-right, was intended to put pressure on the Parliament, which is currently examining a bill on justice.
The complaint against the Martinique-born black candidate also covers statements she made against police racism during a march in solidarity with George Floyd.
Her lawyer stated that Darmanin's complaint comes just days before the regional elections and clearly constitutes a "crude maneuver of intimidation".
The Interior Minister hit back at his critics saying that he will not allow anyone to defame the police or claim that there is a system of widespread racism. "My job is to protect those who protect us," Darmanin stressed.