Travel News

British tourists in Paris gassed by police after being caught in pro-Palestine protest

Simon Calder’s Travel

A British family on holiday were tear-gassed by French police when they accidentally got caught in pro-Palestine protests.

Mum-of-one Radia Austin, 46, has questioned if Paris is a safe place to host the Olympics in July after son Lawrence, eight, was left with acute eye problems.

She says the schoolboy was left screaming in agony after police “blindly” threw tear gas canisters into the crowd.

Radia, Lawrence, and dad Paul Austin, 45, were returning to their apartment nearby when one of the canisters landed at the boy’s feet.

And she says despite approaching the police for help they were simply told to “wash his eyes”.

Two weeks on, she says Lawrence is still struggling with throbbing pain is his eyes and is booked in to see a specialist.

Lawrence after he was gassed by police after being caught in a pro-Palestine protest in Paris
Lawrence after he was gassed by police after being caught in a pro-Palestine protest in Paris (Radia Austin / SWNS)

Radia, from Betchworth, Surrey, said: “It was scary and traumatic – we felt our eyes burning and it was hard to breathe but my biggest concern was my little one.

“We just had to cross the road to get to our apartment but as we were crossing we heard boom sounds and next thing the gas came out.

“Before you know it you can’t breathe and your eyes are burning, people start shouting and my son started screaming.

“All I did was walk back to the police and said ‘help us please, my son is in agony,’ but he just stared at us and didn’t help me.

“Since then he has had a lot of shouty nightmares at night and keeps asking why the police did this to him.”

Radia, an English interpreter, Paul, a lawyer, and Lawrence visited the French capital from May 25 to May 28 during half term.

After visiting the Eiffel Tower they returned to their apartment to find a pro-Palestine protest nearby.

The pro-Palestine protest in Paris
The pro-Palestine protest in Paris (Radia Austin / SWNS)

She said: “We were walking, holding hands, behind a barrier on the touristy side where people were walking, not on the main road closed off for demonstrators.

“[When they threw the canisters] there were fumes and gas, it was like a scene of war, it was surreal.

“We couldn’t reach the flat even though it was such a short distance – I didn’t know how my son was, he was in tears and shouting in pain because his eyes were hurting.

“My son cried all night and the tear gas carried on, I said I was going downstairs but it was impossible to go…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…