French police clash with acid-throwing demonstrators over protester's death

Police officers arrest a protester during clashes following a demonstration in memory of Remi Fraisse, who died in the early hours on Oct 26 during violent clashes between security forces and protesters against a controversial dam project, in Toulous
Police officers arrest a protester during clashes following a demonstration in memory of Remi Fraisse, who died in the early hours on Oct 26 during violent clashes between security forces and protesters against a controversial dam project, in Toulouse, southern France, on Nov 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

NANTES/TOULOUSE, France (REUTERS) - French riot-control officers clashed with hooded demonstrators in Nantes and Toulouse on Saturday, a week after the death of a young activist apparently killed by a police grenade.

Several police and protesters were injured as both demonstrations descended into running battles between protesters hurling projectiles and riot police firing tear gas.

The violence erupted after several hundred people gathered in each city to protest the death of Remi Fraisse, 21, who was found dead on Oct 26 with a wound to his back, after a standoff between police and opponents of a dam project in the Testet wetlands, near the southern city of Toulouse.

Tests on his clothing and backpack suggest Fraisse was killed by a so-called "offensive grenade", authorities have said. Used by police to disperse riots, the explosive devices were not previously thought capable of causing death.

In Nantes, the centre of long-running protests against plans for a new airport nearby, police said more than a dozen people had been arrested and at least four injured on Saturday.

They included a 21-year-old woman whose legs were caught in the blast from another type of crowd-control grenade.

Protesters threw acid-filled bottles at riot police, injuring one officer, according to Henri-Michel Comet, the regional prefet, or governor.

"These are groups who have come in search of violent altercations with the police," Comet said on BFM Television.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has dismissed calls for his resignation over Fraisse's death.

Leaders of France's Green Party, one-time government partners of President François Hollande's Socialists, have criticised ministers for not condemning the apparent killing more forcefully.