Police unions are calling for such a measure and in France, unlike others, these unions often get what they want. Governments have always been afraid to cross them. Police in France are rarely punished for acts of violence.
And they always hated being filmed. Several now notorious cases of police brutality have come to light in the wake of the impromptu filming, including the suffocation death of a bicycle delivery driver earlier this year after filming his own arrest. Incidents of police brutality against black and North African youth in the suburbs, almost endemic according to independent reports, were also filmed by citizens.
On Monday evening, citizens filmed the police violently breaking up a migrant camp in central Paris, harsh scenes which led to an internal police investigation; “Shocking” is the way in which even the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, characterized them.
“So, Minister of the Interior, you will agree then that these images are really useful – and it is you who wanted to ban them”, wrote Clémentine Autain, parliamentary representative of France Unbowed, on Twitter.
Under the new bill, they could soon become illegal.
The public guardian of the rights of French citizens sounded the alarm, affirming that these images are “legitimate and necessary” in a democracy. The same goes for many journalists and academics.
“Over the past two years, thanks to these videos, the whole issue of police violence has become a major topic in society, which it was not before,” said David Dufresne, freelance journalist whose compilation of videos of police violence during the demonstrations of the yellow vests highlighted the severe repression of the government against the movement.