The July 14 festivities will have a special taste this year. Due to the pandemic, the traditional Champs-Elysées parade will be replaced by a military ceremony at Place de la Concorde, accompanied by a tribute to the carers. The national police will also be honored. Among the agents who will represent her, there will be Claire Laurent, Rachid Akhaza, Ludovic Savigny, and Louis, who preferred not to give his last name. All four student officers, they were caught in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and were mobilized before they left school. At the microphone of Europe 1, they agreed to tell what represents for them this particular parade of July 14, between the health crisis and the criticisms and accusations targeting the institution.
Claire Laurent, 24, on internship at the Dijon police station
"It’s really a great pride to parade. It’s important to restore the image of the police, often belittled. We must remember that the police are there for the citizens, and show that all together, each in our place, We participated in solving this crisis, in any case in managing it as best as possible.
We started our internships in early March. Two weeks later, confinement was announced. We had to react quickly and adapt to the situation. So we were on the ground with the troops to do 'Covid patrols'. We were going to see people to verify that their certificates were properly completed. It was really a special experience… Even the colleagues who had been there for a long time, it was the first time they had experienced this! We had the responsibility of enforcing confinement, of protecting all of our fellow citizens. And that's what we did. "
Rachid Akhaza, 38, on internship at the 14th police station in Paris and police officer for 15 years
"It is quite difficult to go from hero status to questioning. Fortunately, we do not do this job for recognition. We put situations into perspective, and then we do with it.
I am of Moroccan origin, I have been in the police for 15 years, as a guard then a brigadier. I have never experienced racism live. I have already heard of words or situations, but very quickly this gave rise to a crop. In my duties, however, there were citizens who refused to speak to me or to listen to my instructions because I was a colored police officer and they wanted to speak to a white police officer. The police are mixed, there are people of color, of different sexualities ... Everyone has their place. I am proud of what I have become. Being a police officer is very important to me. "
Ludovic Savigny, 34, on internship in Nice and police officer for 8 years
"The parade is all the more important this year since we must restore the image of the national police to its proper value. It is an honor and a pride for us to parade. But we have an additional responsibility because the we must be exemplary.
Inevitably the criticisms targeting the institution touch us. When the police are attacked, the policeman is attacked. But that doesn't change my commitment in any way. It strengthens it rather, because it makes me want to be even more exemplary on the ground to show citizens that despite the criticism and all that we can say about the police, we will always be there when people need to we. Every citizen knows it is deep in him: if one day he needs it, he will do the 17th and the police will respond no matter what he said. "
Louis, 26, on internship at the Versailles police station
"It is a special start, we were immediately put in the bath. It is quite empowering but ultimately it was an unprecedented episode, so police officer beginner or not, in reality, we were all beginners faced with the crisis. Nobody had ever experienced this. There were a few beginnings but in the end it went well. And there was a lot of solidarity between colleagues, to help those who had children without possibility to be guarded or whose schools were closed. From a professional point of view I have fond memories of it. "