were overrun

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ironman2012, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. ironman2012 Senior Member


    Riot police were overrun on Saturday as protesters brought chaos to Paris' fanciest neighborhoods, torching dozens of cars, looting boutiques and smashing up luxury private homes and cafes in the worst disturbances the capital has seen since 1968.

    (This comes from nbcnews.com 'Yellow Jacket' protests in France leave gas stations running dry; Paris riots worst since 1968 by Reuters Dec. 3, 2018.)

    I want to know "Riot police were overrun by what". Shouldn't it be changed to "Riot police overran (Paris) over the weekend"?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    American English
    They were overrun by protesters. Passive voice.
  3. ironman2012 Senior Member

    Does "overrun" here mean "exceed"? That is, the number of protesters exceeded the number of policemen?
  4. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    American English
    No. It means run over the way a herd of buffaloes will run over you if they are stampeding.
  5. ironman2012 Senior Member

    Sorry I still don't understand it.
    "Run over": injure or kill by running over, as with a vehicle
    Does that sentence mean "riot police were knocked down or hit by protesters"?
  6. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    American English
    Yes, they were run over, stampeded. You know what happens when someone yells "Fire" in a theatre or a rock concert or a soccer stadium? People who fall down are "overrun" by everyone else stampeding to the doors.
  7. kentix

    kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    The police were trying to hold people back and keep everything calm and they were not able to do it. There were too many people acting too extremely for the police to keep them under control. The police probably had to retreat because they couldn't maintain their position with many people swarming around them. It doesn't necessarily mean they were physically knocked down, but it could.
  8. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    English (American)
    I agree. Presumably their formation was broken and they were forced to withdraw in disarray, but there is no indication that they were physically knocked down and trampled.

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