French Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez on Thursday firmly rejected the term “police violence,” which has surfaced in news reports on police interventions in protests.

Speaking on a television program, Nunez said he supported the police’s stance, claiming the police are not violent.

He said he refuted the term “police violence” because it suggests there is an organized system which would like the police to be repressive in order to silence protests.

He said state violence is legitimate and is very controlled and police can use violence only when they are attacked.

His comments came as many labor unions

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