Thousands of people protest across France against the new “security law”


Hundreds of thousands of people in France marched yesterday against a controversial proposed new security law, against police violence and racism, and clashes erupted in major cities.
The Interior Ministry said 133,000 people had come to protest, but organizers put the number at 500,000.

Read more: Why is there often a difference in the number of protesters between what authorities and organizers say?

Protesters marched on Saturday, November 28, with more than 100 protests staged across the country. There was a large crowd in cities like Paris, Lyon, Rennes and Strasbourg. The images appear to show that most of the protesters were wearing masks.

The protesters’ placards included slogans such as “lower your guns and we will lower our cameras”, “who will protect us from the [ferocious] police? “,” Smile, you are in front of the camera “,” Who will control the police? ” And “Police, we see you when you’re abusive.”

Most of the marches were conducted peacefully, but there were reports of intentionally violent “black bloc” elements. Some protesters threw fireworks at the police, built barriers and threw stones. Some cars were set on fire, as was a newsstand and a brewery.

Clashes were reported in Paris, Lyon and Rennes, and nine people were arrested in Paris, the police headquarters confirmed.

Police responded to the alleged violence with tear gas and “grenades” intended to dispel the crowds.

One protester in Marseille, Thérèse Bourgeois, from La Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, said: “These laws are made to muzzle opposition and resistance.”

What is the controversial law?

The protests come after Bill – dubbed the “global security” law – was adopted in parliament last week. The law is expected to be considered by the Senate in January – although some say it is unlikely to be passed by the upper house.

Read more: French parliament passes controversial security law

The bill was introduced by the ruling La République en Marche (LRM) party and its ally, Agir Ensemble. Its aim is to introduce more legislation on the use of public images and help improve security, supporters say.

The law includes legislation on the use of drones and police cameras, but section 24 of the bill has sparked controversy, as it would limit the “malicious” dissemination of police photos and images.

The Minister of the Interior described this decision as a “war on images” which targets the police in a negative light. The bill would seek to “protect those who protect us” and prevent the police from being “thrown to the wolves on social networks”.

The bill would impose penalties of up to € 45,000 and up to one year in prison for disseminating “the image of the face or another identifying element” of the police and law enforcement officials during the event. ‘interventions, when it constitutes an “attack on their physical or mental health.” integrity ”.

Why is this controversial?

Critics said the law was a “disproportionate attack” on people’s freedom to share and be informed, and called the bill “further evidence of authoritarian macronism.”

Opposition leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Republicans said if he were elected president in 2022 he would repeal the law, saying France was becoming “an authoritarian regime of widespread surveillance.”

Senator Philippe Bas, from the Les Républicains party, said the bill was “unenforceable and unconstitutional” and called it “an attack on press freedom”.

He also said the bill was “crazy business” for the police, who would likely not benefit much, and added that “the Senate will have to correct” the text.

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