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Latest update : 2009-04-06

A demonstration denouncing police brutality turned sour on the French island of Corsica, when at least three policemen were seriously wounded, including one by a petrol bomb.

AFP - At least three French police officers were seriously wounded Saturday during a demonstration in the Corsican port of Bastia, the island's security services said.

Seven others were lightly hurt as violence broke out at a protest which gathered 1,500 people according to the police.

One of the three worst hurt, a riot police officer, was hit by a petrol bomb and has serious leg wounds. The two others were hit in the face by an object thrown from the crowd and suffered other injuries to their heads from firebombs and missiles.

There were no arrests at the rally -- which organisers said drew 15,000 people -- and no reports of injured protesters, but scuffles with small groups of agitators were ongoing at 1730 GMT around the city hall and on the waterfront.

The rally was called following accusations of police brutality on Monday during a demonstration against a Paris appeal court's decision to jail a shepherd convicted of murdering the Mediterranean island's top French official for at least 22 years.

Yvan Colonna, 48, was convicted of gunning down Claude Erignac in 1998 on the prefect's way to a concert in Ajaccio.

A school student was seriously hurt in the face during Monday's protest.

Corsican security official Gilles Leclair condemned what he called an "urban guerrilla" and Corsican "nationalists' disinformation campaign" about the circumstances in which the student was hurt.

"Some youths got all excited but we don't know the exact circumstances in which the student was injured," he said.

Date created : 2009-04-05