Tens of thousands furious protesters clash with police over new security law in France
PARIS. FRANCE – Police and demonstrators have clashed in Paris as tens of thousands took the streets to protest against new security legislation, a controversy intensified by the beating and racial abuse of a Black man by officers that shocked France.
The demonstrations against the security law – which would restrict the police officers’ faces – took place nationwide on Saturday with 46,000 marching in Paris according to the government and several fires erupting after clashes.
The security bill, which was debated on Tuesday by French MPs, would make it a crime for anyone — journalists and civilians alike — to share images of police officers unless their faces had been blurred.
Furthermore, publishing images to social media with the intent to undermine an on-duty officer’s “physical or psychological integrity” could be punishable by a year’s prison sentence or a fine of up to €45,000.
The legal reform, put forward by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government in October, triggered protests in cities across France, including Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Marseille.
It has also garnered criticism from human rights organisations and journalists who view the proposed bill as a means of gagging press freedoms and undermining a check on potential abuses of power by the police. They also argue that the bill’s wording is too vague.
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