16:26 GMT05 December 2020
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    Lawyers for the French police units that guard President Francois Hollande, his ministers and high profile people say they will launch a lawsuit against the government because the massive terrorism threat since the January shooting has stretched resources to the limit.

    According to Laurent Franck Lienard, lawyer for the Personalities Police Protection Service (SDLP), the officers have been at full stretch and have clocked up 1.3 million hours of overtime. It has left them stretched to the limit, with some so unable to concentrate that they have been accidentally misusing their weapons. Lienard said: 

    "When you are worn-out, when you are extremely stressed, when you have to be extremely vigilant, when you drive fast and when you are armed [mistakes are made], and the truth is that there have been several inadvertent shots fired which are linked to fatigue."

    On one occasion an officer accidentally fired a round in the presidential palace, which set off a terror alert. On another, a policeman shot himself in the thigh. 

    Apart from filing a case over the non-payment of 1.3 million hours' overtime, a complaint will also be filed for "moral harassment". According to the police union, officers say they have been bullied by superiors when referring to the extension of their working hours.

    The complainants say officers are exhausted, suffering poor health and are unable to carry out inherently important police work, such as high-speed driving, carrying a weapon and even remaining constantly vigilant.

    "This is not sustainable, especially since our days are long: most often, they start at 0800 and end at 2300. Sometimes we have to protect a personality throughout the night, if they go to a party," according to one officer identifying himself as Antonin in an Over the Obs article, who noted that it puts "a family life on hold".

    Terror Alert

    France has been on high terror alert since January 2015 when Saïd and Chérif Kouachi forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris and shot 11 people dead and wounding 11, before fleeing and killing a policeman outside.

    Gunmen flee the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in this still image taken from amateur video shot on January 7, 2015, and obtained by Reuters
    © REUTERS / Handout via Reuters TV
    Gunmen flee the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in this still image taken from amateur video shot on January 7, 2015, and obtained by Reuters

    They identified themselves as belonging to the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen. Both were eventually gunned down in a village, after taking a hostage.

    The shootings were followed by another hostage-taking event involving Amedy Coulibaly who was a close friend of the Kouachi brothers. Coulibaly entered and attacked people in the kosher food superette in Porte de Vincennes where he murdered four Jewish hostages and held fifteen other hostage. Police ended the siege by storming the store and killing Coulibaly.

    A woman lighting a candle outside the kosher grocery where Amedy Coulibaly killed four people in a terror attack, in Paris, France.
    © AP Photo
    A woman lighting a candle outside the kosher grocery where Amedy Coulibaly killed four people in a terror attack, in Paris, France.

    Since then, there has been a series of other terror incidents across France, which included one case when a man was decapitated during a suspected Islamist terrorist attack at a chemical factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon, southeastern France.

    Related:

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    French Army Targets Extremist Hotspots Amid Warnings of 9/11-Style Attack
    Islamic State Threatens to Cover Paris With Corpses
    France Arrests 4 on Suspicion of Plotting Terrorist Attacks
    Tags:
    work, policemen, terror alert, terrorism threat, terrorism, police, security, Charlie Hebdo, Francois Hollande, France
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