NICE, France (AFP) – French officials faced fresh questions on Sunday about the handling of the “yellow vest” protests after an elderly activist was seriously injured during a police charge in the southern city of Nice.
Prosecutors there have opened an inquiry to try to establish what happened on Saturday when 73-year-old Genevieve Legay suffered head injuries.
When paramedics evacuated veteran activist Legay from the demonstration she was bleeding from the head, but still conscious, AFP journalists at the scene noted.
Her daughter later said that she had suffered several fractures to the skull and subdural haematomas.
Arie Alimi, the family’s lawyer, told AFP that they would be filing a formal complaint against the authorities for violence against “a vulnerable person”.
The region’s governor would be named in the lawsuit, which was submitted yesterday.
“The police charge was very violent,” he said. “Mrs Legay … has been very badly injured.” But contrary to some reports, she was in a stable condition and not in a coma,” he added.
Photos and video footage from Saturday’s protest showed her carrying a rainbow-coloured flag with the word “peace” written on it.
Legay is an activist with the social justice campaign group Attac.
The group published a message on its website calling for an inquiry to establish who was responsible for her injuries.
In an interview with Nice-Matin published yesterday, President Emmanuel Macron wished her “a speedy recovery, and perhaps some form of wisdom”.
“When you are frail, and may be pushed around, you do not go to places that are defined as prohibited and do not put yourself in situations like this,” he said.
Both local prosecutors and France’s Justice Minister on Sunday pointed out that protests in some parts of the city centre had been banned.