PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that he hoped a 73-year-old yellow vest protester who suffered a head injury after being charged by police in Nice gains “wisdom” over the incident.
The Nice prosecutor said he had opened an investigation to uncover how anti-globalization activist Genevieve Legay was injured, and who, if anyone, was responsible. However, prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre noted that the Saturday demonstration was “at once illicit and forbidden” and participants had been summoned to leave before the police charge.
An Associated Press reporter saw Legay, who was waving a rainbow flag marked “Peace” and holding a yellow vest, fall to the pavement, blood spilling from her head.
The prosecutor told a news conference that Legay “was pushed” from behind and fell to the ground, fracturing her head, which hit a metal pole. She received a 3 centimeter gash, but was talking, coherent and remained hospitalized for surveillance.
He said at least three other people, including a protester and a cameraman, were behind Legay when she fell, not just police.
In an interview published in the Nice Matin newspaper on Monday, Macron suggested Legay didn’t behave “responsibly,” saying that “fragile” people shouldn’t attend “places that are defined as prohibited.”
“I wish her a speedy recovery, and perhaps a form of wisdom,” he added.
French authorities banned protests in several areas Saturday to cut short violence during the 19th straight week of protests by the yellow vest movement — after rioting and destruction the previous week. Nice was under extra security because the city was preparing for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Legay’s daughter, Delphine, filed a complaint, along with Attac, the group that Legay belongs to, which said Monday its complaint was for “voluntary violence” on a vulnerable person by a person holding “public authority.”
At least 2,000 people have been injured in protest violence since the yellow vest movement began in November, and 11 people have been killed in protest-related road incidents.