Man missing since controversial police festival shut down found dead

The body of a man who went missing during a police operation at France’s Fete de la Musique last month has been found.

Steve Maia Caniço, 24, was last seen in June at a techno concert in Nantes, western France, for the famous nationwide festival, which sees bands and artists play for one day in outside spaces across the country.

His disappearance quickly became a controversial topic as it coincided with the time — around 4.30 am on June 22 — that local police had tried to shut down the event.

France’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, said on Tuesday a police report had not established a link between officers’ intervention and Caniço’s disappearance.

He added that a new one would now be commissioned.

Philippe said the report highlighted difficulties around the operation, including the throwing of projectiles towards police and their use of tear gas in response.

Some spoke of a cloud of tear gas and said they fell in a nearby river. Fourteen people were pulled from the water by rescue services.

On Monday — more than a month after his disappearance — Caniço’s body was found in the river just a few hundred metres from Quai Wilson, where he was last seen.

It initially took some time to identify Caniço as prosecutors said his body was in an “advanced state of decomposition”, but a post-mortem later confirmed it was the young man.

A manslaughter investigation has now been launched.

Ou est Steve?

Caniço’s disappearance sparked a large reaction in France.

Tens of thousands of people have joined the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #JusticepourSteve (Justice for Steve) and #OuestSteve (Where is Steve).

Meanwhile, French police have been criticised amid allegations of heavy-handed approach to shutting the festival concert down — comparisons have been drawn with the police’s treatment of protesters taking part in the yellow vest movement.

But many have also been questioning why local authorities had allowed such an event to take place without insisting that a barrier be placed alongside the river beforehand.

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