The Brav-M, made up of members of intervention companies who operate on motorcycles and in pairs, has been the subject of strong criticism since the start of the protest against the pension reform. A petition launched on the site of the National Assembly calls for its dissolution. It has more than 120,000 signatories, this Tuesday, March 28. This petition could trigger a debate in public session in the National Assembly, once the threshold of 500,000 signatures is reached. The police unit is implicated in several cases of police violence against demonstrators. His methods have been documented by numerous videos of protesters, but also by media such as “Le Monde”, “Loopsider”, “Brut” or “Médiapart”.
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Launched during the period of yellow vests
The police brigade “specialists in maintaining order” was created in the spring of 2019, in the midst of a protest by the Yellow Vests against the rise in fuel prices which led to the devastation of the Champs-Élysées. “The idea was to be able to intervene quickly, where the big companies do not pass or are too heavy with their kilos of equipment”, explained to AFP the police commander Patrick Lunel, who participated in their creation.
This motorized brigade is often compared to the “voltigeurs”, the police unit created in May 1968 and dissolved more than twenty years later, in 1986, after the death of Malik Oussekine. On the sidelines of a demonstration, this student was beaten to death by three agents, two of them were sentenced to 2 and 5 years in prison, suspended for “battery causing death without intention of giving it” .
But today, according to the police headquarters, this comparison is “a mistake”. “We have people specialized in maintaining order, trained and who do only that, who are on motorcycles and who are dropped off to intervene, like parachutists”, affirms Jérôme Foucaud, director of public order and circulation (DOPC), with AFP.
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Preserve the order
Brav-M agents have the possibility of traveling in convoy to Paris, as well as in the inner suburbs. Their main mission is to intervene during demonstrations to carry out dispersal actions. Their patrols are supposed to deter thugs. Except in the event of an imminent risk, the brigade only intervenes on the orders of the command room, according to its management. Apart from demonstrations, officers come to the aid of police stations, in the fight against urban violence or on road checks. “These are police officers who are trained to maintain order (…). The only difference is that they have a means of transport, motorcycles, which allows them to go faster, ”said Laurent Nuñez on “Franceinfo”, Saturday March 24.
The Brav-Ms are now made up of six sections of 18 operators and as many motorcyclists, ie 92 crews in all. Officers are equipped with a biker uniform and helmet, police markings, a tactical vest, a transmission radio and a handgun. But that’s not all, since the latter also have a telescopic baton, “eraser” sticks, tear gas and de-encirclement grenades. Each pair is made up of a pilot (white helmet) and an “operator” (black helmet). The latter come from a permanent unit (called 24 Brav-M), but also from staff of the Regional Motorcycling Division (DRM) and intervention companies (CI) of the police headquarters.
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“I can tell you that we broke elbows and faces and you I would have broken your legs.”
Since the start of the counter protests, several videos posted on social networks have accused Brav-M agents of police violence. A judicial inquiry was even opened after the publication by “Le Monde”, “Loopsider” and “Médiapart” of several recordings in which police officers made threatening and abusive remarks against people arrested during a spontaneous demonstration on Monday March 20. last. The prosecution opened an investigation for “willful violence by persons holding public authority and threats of crimes”, and entrusted it on Saturday March 24 to the IGPN, the police force.
“You’re lucky we’re going to take revenge on other people”, “The next time we come, you won’t get on the bus to go to the police station, you’ll get on another thing called ambulance to go to the hospital. “Or:” I can tell you that we broke elbows and mouths and you I would have broken your legs. The police officers who made these remarks have been identified, indicates AFP this Monday, March 27, but they have not, for the moment, been suspended from their duties.
Another investigation was opened after the filing of a complaint by a young woman also arrested on Monday March 20, she claims to have been subjected to violence by the agents.
Thomas Portes, Antoine Léaument and Ugo Bernalicis, three deputies from La France Insoumise (LFI), wrote to the Minister of the Interior to request “the provisional dismantling of the Brav-M”, Wednesday March 22. A request that has little chance of succeeding, since Laurent Nuñez, the prefect of police, indicated on Saturday March 24, on “franceinfo”, that the dismantling of the Brav-M is “obviously not on the agenda “.
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