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France Police clash with prison guards protesting over inmate violence

FRENCH prison guards’ protests against violence by inmates escalated today to clashes with riot police.

Dozens of union members were surrounded by police after they lit a fire outside the notoriously violent Fresnes prison, south-east of Paris.

The protests follow a string of attacks on guards at several prisons by terrorist convicts or suspects.

Today an officer at Tarascon prison in the south needed hospital treatment after a “radicalised” prisoner punched her in the face.

Yesterday seven officers were injured — three seriously — when an inmate turned violent after a metal detector check found a suspicious object in his bag at south-western Mont-de-Marsan prison. One officer suffered a broken nose and another a broken finger.

The Justice Ministry said the man was already known as “very violent” and under surveillance “because he was radicalised in prison.”

Protests by officers mounting barricades and burning tyres at prisons around the country began yesterday after several were injured last week by a knife-wielding inmate at Vendin-le-Vieil prison in the north.

Last night an anti-terror judge handed prisoner Christian Ganczarski, already serving 18 years for the 2002 bombing of a Tunisian synagogue, preliminary charges of attempted murder.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet visited Vendin-le-Vieil today in a bid to end the dispute but officers drowned out her speech with a raucous rendition of La Marseillaise.

The prison’s governor asked to be “relieved of his command” yesterday after 100 protesting guards there demanded his resignation over the incident.

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