Mayalène Tremolet 08:18, March 28, 2023For several days, images of violence committed by police have multiplied on social networks. Faced with this new war of images, police and gendarmes are trying to respond by broadcasting their own version of the facts.
This Tuesday marks a new day of mobilization against the pension reform. In order to contain any overflow during the demonstrations, the Minister of the Interior announced Monday night a device of a level never reached. Nearly 13,000 police and gendarmes are mobilized, including 5,500 in Paris, to face the more than 1,000 thugs who could integrate the processions. Gérald Darmanin called on the police not to respond to any provocation in order to avoid blunders.
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On the Internet, several demonstrators and left-wing elected officials denounce police violence and humiliation. The police respond to these images, sometimes truncated, with their own video. A real media battle is being played out between police and demonstrators.
A new digital war
Fighting through images is a new form of communication to restore the truth of police and gendarmes about acts of violence. Faced with the smartphones of the demonstrators, real surveillance cameras, the police are doing everything to recontextualize these episodes of violence and change the perception of the clashes.
According to Bertrand Cavallier, general of the gendarmerie, this war of images has become as important as the operational maneuver: "The police know that this communication occurs in a new environment of the war of images. The police are equipped with pedestrian cameras but there are also gendarmes and police officers who, sometimes, feed social networks. This phenomenon is quite recent but it is becoming systematized."
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On Saturday, during the demonstration against the mega-basins in Sainte-Soline, a gendarme filmed the fireworks mortars and Molotov cocktails thrown at the windshield of his van. Institutional communication or private initiative? Police officers are now responding to this digital war image against image.