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Outrage in France as cash pours in for boxer who bashed police

AFP  |  Paris 

French officials on Tuesday slammed an that has raised tens of thousands of euros for a former filmed punching police officers during anti-government protests in over the weekend.

As of Monday morning, over 7,000 people had pledged a total of 117,000 euros (USD 134,000) on the Leetchi website for Christophe Dettinger, known as "The Gypsy From Massy" during his days in the ring.

Dettinger, 37, turned himself in to police Monday after videos emerged of him landing punch after punch on shield-carrying officers during the latest "yellow vest" demonstrations in the capital on Saturday.

He was still in custody on Tuesday.

In a video posted on on Sunday, he described himself as an "ordinary citizen" acting out of anger with what he called the repressive tactics of the police.

"I am a yellow vest. I have the anger of the people in me," said the 2007 and 2008 champion in the French junior heavyweight division.

But government officials assailed the fundraising drive, with many calling for it to be shut down or for the pledged funds to be seized.

"Is it normal to want to support this man seen hitting an on the ground, boxing an officer," told Franceinfo radio on Tuesday.

"Apparently, hitting a pays off," had already tweeted on Monday.

"Everyone must assume their responsibilities: this kitty is shameful," he added.

The SCSI-CFDT police union, for its part, said the funds should be seized to compensate the two officers targeted by Dettinger, who were removed from duty while recovering from their injuries.

Many "yellow vests" point to a video showing a beating protesters in the southern city of at the weekend -- and their heavy use of teargas and -- to support their claim that the violence runs both ways.

Leetchi initially defended its hosting of the fundraising, saying that as a platform it was required to remain "neutral."

But on Tuesday morning, it announced that it had closed the fund "in light of the amount raised" after 7,801 pledges.

"Christophe and his family are sincerely touched by your generosity... and as he says, 'the fight continues!'" it reads on the site.

Leetchi did not reveal how much was raised in total, but said it would ensure the funds "will be used only to pay for legal costs" and that any money left over would be returned to donors.

"In no way do we make judgements or take any stance whatsoever on the value of a theme, cause or project," it added.

in a TV interview late Monday announced plans for legislation banning "troublemakers" from attending demonstrations following weeks of clashes between yellow vest supporters and police.

Around 50,000 "yellow vest" protesters took to the streets again on Saturday to denounce Emmanuel Macron's policies, call for his resignation or demand more of a say in national law-making.

It was the latest round of weekly protests since mid-November, with another major demonstration called for Saturday.

This time, organisers want a major turnout in Bourges, central France, instead of focusing on the capital, where dozens of cars have been burned and stores vandalised in recent weeks.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 20:05 IST
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