A self-described Roma reportedly shared his support for “honourable” professional boxer Christophe Dettinger, detained over footage of the athlete beating a policeman, with a filmed address to President Emmanuel Macron, which is now circulating online. The unknown man in the video, which authenticity has not yet been confirmed, urged Roma to “occupy Paris”, promising the French head of state that they are going “to make the CRS [riot police] falter” and make him “drool so much that [he is] going down from [his] throne”.
“Macron, I’m going to tell you something: Gypsies are like embers, when you have embers that are red hot and you blow on them, it fans the fire”, the man in the video claimed.
He also encouraged Dettinger, saying that he did the right thing, adding that “the law enforcement cannot be above the law”.
Christophe Dettinger, who fought for the French cruiserweight title in 2011, was back in the headlines over the weekend, after he was identified as a protester beating a policeman in a video of the “yellow vests” protests. On 7 January, the 37-year-old handed himself in to police and was taken into custody. The man, dubbed the “Gypsy of Massy” after a working-class suburb in southern Paris that he comes from, reportedly claimed that it was an act of defence.
He also called on fellow “yellow vests” to continue their protest. A crowdfunding campaign was set up for him and managed to gain over 100,000 euros by 8 January, according to the French magazine Paris Match. However, it outraged officials, saying that it was tantamount to legitimising anti-police violence and was eventually closed.
Around 50,000 “yellow vests” — known in France as “gilets jaunes” after the high-visibility jackets many wear — took part in demonstrations against Macron’s policies for the eighth consecutive weekend on Saturday. The protests began in November as a rebellion against fuel taxes and spread all over the country, including Corsica.
While the French government has scrapped its planned hike on diesel taxes, which is what initially sparked the protests, the "yellow vests" have evolved into a broader movement against government policies and rising living costs.