go to content
World

This Protester Lost His Eye In The Midst Of A Wild Protest In France

The confrontation between police and protesters was the latest in a string that have engulfed France over the last six months. WARNING: This post contains graphic images.

Posted on

Tens of thousands of Parisians took to the streets on Thursday for the 14th time in the last six months to protest against a set of labor reform laws that supporters claim would make it easier for employers to hire and fire staff.

The protests devolved into clashes with the National Police and the gendarmerie, with some protesters — mostly young people wearing masks — hurling bricks and bottles.

Christophe Archambault / AFP / Getty Images

Eight policemen and gendarmes were injured, two with burns from Molotov cocktails.

In response, law enforcement fired tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd. While covering the protest, BuzzFeed News witnessed one man take a projectile to the eye.

"You shot me, I want a doctor," the man — identified as Laurent Theron, 46, a union member and medical secretary — could be heard telling the riot police.

Le manifestant blessé demande un médecin #manif15sept

"I want a fucking doctor. But are you kidding or what?" he said, seemingly unaware of the extent of his injuries. Two officers and a doctor accompanying the protestors called by the police officers administered first aid before firefighters arrived about 30 minutes later.

David, Laurent's brother, when reached by BuzzFeed News confirmed that the hospital was unable to save his brother's eye.

Facebook: nicolas.casaux

"They tried to reconstruct his eye, but they had to replace his retina with a ball to install a prosthesis later," David told BuzzFeed News. "Laurent was still in the recovery room this morning." Theron's union also confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he had lost the use of his eye.

"Laurent does not remember exactly what happened when he was hit," David, who was also at the protest, said. "But [he had his] hands in [his] pockets. He saw young people launch projectiles at riot police about 20 meters away and then there was a rush of police officers. "

The law being protested is extremely contentious in France for a number of reasons, not least of which the way in which President François Hollande's Socialist party rammed it through the National Assembly in July.

Thomas Samson / AFP / Getty Images

The size of the protests have faded in recent weeks, though, as the furor ebbs, leading opponents to declare the end of the demonstrations for now. But with presidential elections on the horizon, union members and members of right-wing parties alike are unwilling to let the issue drop entirely.

A version of this article originally appeared on BuzzFeed France.

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Hayes Brown at hayes.brown@buzzfeed.com.

David Perrotin est journaliste société chez BuzzFeed News France et travaille depuis Paris. Il écrit notamment sur les sujets liés aux discriminations.

Contact David Perrotin at david.perrotin@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.