This pressure has intensified since the beating of Mr Zecler, although it is not clear that the bill – which would criminalize the dissemination of “the face or any other identifying element” of police officers in service if the goal is to “physically or mentally harm” them – would have applied in the case.
Frédéric Veaux, the head of the French national police, said Sunday in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche that he had been “scandalized, like the rest of the police in this country” by the assault, comparing the police officers who had beaten Mr. Zecler to “criminals” and promising that the police would be equipped with 15,000 new body cameras by next summer.
But Mr. Veaux denied that the relationship between the police and the French population had been “damaged”.
“The police are a reflection of society, aren’t they marginal,” he said, adding that there had been a “disinhibition” of violence against the security forces in recent years, by especially after the demonstrations of the yellow vests.
While Saturday’s protests against the security bill were mostly peaceful, they were marked by violent clashes between police and protesters later in the day.
A freelance photographer from Syria, Ameer al-Halbi, was seriously injured when he was punched in the face by a baton-wielding policeman, which the Reporters Without Borders chief said called “unacceptable”. Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said nearly 100 security forces were also injured, including a policeman in riot gear who was severely beaten by protesters in Paris.