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A Accomplice flag noticed within the window of police barracks in Paris

A resident of Paris’s 17th arrondissement despatched our workforce two pictures taken from their window that present an American Accomplice flag displayed within the window of the police barracks throughout the road. This flag, which was the battle emblem for a slave-holding society and is taken into account racist, has specific resonance towards a backdrop of world Black Lives Issues protests which have sparked discussions in France about its personal downside with racist policing.

UPDATED 10/07/2020 : added a picture seize from Google Road View dated from July 2014 
 

These pictures had been taken round 9pm on June 30. They clearly present a Accomplice flag displayed in a second-floor window of the police barracks on 46 boulevard Bessières in Paris.

“In these two photos, you can see the Confederate flag (a racist symbol) on the far left on the second floor. In my opinion, this symbol has no place in police barracks,” wrote the one who despatched us these pictures.

The photograph of the Accomplice flag on the correct was taken in 2010 in Mississippi, which was previously a part of the Confederacy of southern states that fought to uphold the system of slavery within the American Civil Battle, had the Accomplice emblem on its state flag till June 30 when Governor Tate Reeves introduced that it might be eliminated in an try to reconcile and transfer forwards. This variation got here amid nationwide protests towards systemic racism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Credit score: Flickr/edward stojakovic)

We verified the pictures utilizing metadata within the authentic photograph recordsdata, which our Observer despatched to us by e-mail. This metadata signifies the exact coordinates of the place the photograph was taken together with the date, time and cell phone mannequin that was used.

This screengrab reveals metadata confirming when and the place the pictures had been taken

We obtained the photograph about an hour after it was taken. We went to the placement the place the photograph was taken round midday the subsequent day (July 1) and, by then, the flag had been faraway from the window.

A police officer informed our workforce that he was conscious of “this story about the flag,” although he said that he didn’t see it with his own eyes and that he didn’t want to make a statement.

On July 1, our team contacted the Paris police department to ask about this flag and if the person who had displayed it had been sanctioned in any way. The police didn’t respond to our email, despite several follow-up calls. We will update this page with their response if they do send one.

The day after the publication of this article, a reader informed us that the Confederate flag has appeared at least one other time in the same window. You can see it on this Google Road View from an adjoining road in a picture seize dated July 2014. In picture captures within the following years, the flag is lacking. 

A racist image

The Accomplice flag has a purple background, blue traces that come collectively in an X form and 13 small white stars. The celebs symbolize the slave-holding Southern states who seceded throughout the American civil conflict and fought the Northern states to take care of the establishment of slavery.

Right this moment, the Accomplice flag is extensively seen as a logo for racist and white supremacist ideology. It was in style amongst members of the Ku Klux Klan, a secret white supremacist terrorist organisation based by former officers of the Accomplice Military.

After a white man shot and killed 9 Black People at a bible examine in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, many individuals advocated for the elimination of the Accomplice flag from public buildings within the state. On the time, historian Nicole Bacharan informed the French each day newspaper Libération that the flag was “widely used by segregationists protesting the civil rights movement in the 1960s […] It’s clearly a racist symbol, used by the far right and sometimes by pro-gun groups”.

Our workforce spoke with Sébastien Bourdon, an unbiased journalist who specialises within the far proper. He says that, in Europe, the Accomplice flag shouldn’t be as well-known because the Nazi swastika and different Nazi symbols, however it’s nonetheless extensively utilized in nationalist circles.
 

Lots of people who’re affiliated with the far proper in France grasp up Accomplice flags of their properties or show them throughout events or gatherings. I’ve by no means seen one within the premises of those organisations, however there are only a few photos shared of those locations. Members of the French far proper have an extended historical past of utilizing the Accomplice flag, as do some soccer hooligans, like these in Nancy. Just lately, one of the well-known French nationalist cartoonists, La Cagoule, included a Accomplice flag in a drawing. 

 

La Cagoule, a nationalist artist, posted a picture of this drawing known as “White Brother” on Telegram on March 25. It options the Accomplice flag on the correct, and, on the left, a “Totenkopf”, which was the image of a division of the Waffen-SS, Nazi navy forces.

‘It’s doubtless a response to the second’

Noam Anouar is a consultant for the Vigi police union and a brigadier in Île-de-France. He says he wasn’t stunned in any respect to see this flag on show.
 

This flag was displayed dealing with the road in a really deliberate means. It’s most likely a response to the present second [Editor’s note: Global Black Lives Matter protests after the police killing of George Floyd and discussions of systemic racism]. However what shocked me probably the most was that, very doubtless, the particular person or individuals who did this didn’t face any penalties. I very a lot doubt there was any sort of investigation into this.

 

I actually spoke out towards a racist e-mail that was despatched by the management of the border police, in addition to a poster for a present by Dieudonné [Editor’s note: Controversial comedian Dieudonné has been accused of anti-Semitism]that was displayed in a police station in Mesnil-Amelot in 2017, however nothing occurred.

In 2011, when his union was nonetheless affiliated with the CGT [Editor’s note: One of France’s major trade unions, they filed a complaint against a unit of the CRS, French riot police, based in Perpignan after they discovered a portrait of Hitler on their premises. The complaint was shelved and the police officer who was responsible was given a warning.

The Confederate flag in other police stations

In 2014 and 2019, photos and videos emerged showing Confederate flags displayed in several different police stations in France.

A photo posted on

Twitter on October 23, 2014 showed then-Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve visiting a police station in the 14th arrondissement of Paris that had a Confederate flag on display. In the ensuing debate, the Paris police played down the incident, claiming that the officer who had displayed the flag was just a fan of the United States and that it didn’t have any political connotation, according to Paris daily newspaper Le Parisien.

A TV report that was broadcast on France 3 Nouvelle-Aquitaine in June 2019 showed a Confederate flag hanging up in a police station in Niort.

In the past few weeks, independent media outlet Streetpress and the Arte Radio podcast published some of the anti-semitic, racist, xenophobic and misogynistic messages exchanged in police Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who has since been replaced by Gérald Darmanin, called on the Paris public prosecutor to investigate “unacceptable statements which [if proved]would compromise the honour of the police and the national gendarmerie, whose men and women work every day to protect the French people, including against racism and discrimination”.  

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