Boxer Stands Ground With Police During Yellow Vest Protests In France
Around November 2018, France began to erupt with heated protests. People had become frustrated with president Macron and increasing gasoline taxes. The participating protesters generally adopted a theme of wearing yellow safety vests. Some of the protesters were completely peaceful and many clashed violently with police.
People around the world watched to see if France would experience a new age revolution. As usual with protests of this scale, much property was damaged. French police used heavy force over time to quell the protesters. Despite many civilians taking on serious injuries in their confrontations, there has been no armed uprising against police. Months later, most protesters have returned to their daily lives.
While there was no armed uprising, protesters still stood their ground hand to hand with riot gear clad police. In one instance on January fifth 2019, a man named Christophe Dettinger was filmed engaged in hand to riot gear combat with officers over the river Seine in Paris. Dettinger is 6 foot 3 inches 37 year old former national light-heighvyweight champion boxer. In the video, Dettinger was unarmed and wearing casual clothes. He was wearing gloves which may have been reinforced, but had no mask or yellow vest.
During Dettinger's engagement with police he first pushed back one officer from the protesters with a combination of powerful punches. He then kicked another to the ground. The police eventually retreated as he encouraged the protesters to stand their ground as well. During his battle, he walked straight through some form of flash bang. According to Dettinger, he became physical after seeing his wife being tear gassed along with other citizens.
Dettinger attracted mixed attention as the video of him grew viral. On one side, he was heavily condemned as a violent criminal who should serve time. On the other, many hailed him as a hero of the common person. His identity remained anonymous to most until French police published a statement on Twitter. The following quote is a translation of the statement. "Sir, you knocked a colleague to the ground. You have been identified. For a boxer, apparently you don't respect the rules very much. We're going to teach you those of the penal code." In another statement, the French interior minister describes Dettinger as "cowardly and intolerable."
After being identified by police, Dettinger surrendered to them. He is not only married, but has three kids who may have also been present during the protest. During his trial, he explained and apologized for his actions. In his explanation, he claimed "I see police hitting the yellow vest protesters with truncheons .. I don't understand. I see a woman on the ground, someone kicks her and raises a truncheon and that's when I threw myself at the policeman and hit him." The Judge sentenced him to three years of prison. Twelve months of the term is semi liberty which means he has the right to work during the day and must return to jail by night. The other eighteen months are suspended.
The police involved in the incident were reported to have suffered injuries. They had helmets, shields, combat suits, and batons, yet sustained injuries at the hands of a mans fist. Fines of 2000 and 3000 Euro were issued for Dettenger to pay his "victims" compensation. Dettingers supporters felt that his actions were heroic, not criminal. They started a fundraiser page for him which was swiftly shut down by the French government. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters are either on trial or are sentenced.
Last edited by Gemino Smothers at 4:19 PM 5/1/2019