Global security legislation aims to ban the distribution of photos that can identify police officers in a way that is detrimental to their image.
Violent clashes erupted in Paris as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest new security laws. Tensions were heightened by police beatings and the racial abuse of a black man who shocked France.
Several fires have started in Paris, with pungent smoke pelting the air as protesters unleashed their anger at the security law that would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces.
President Emmanuel Macron said late Friday that the pictures of the beatings of black music producer Michel Zecler by police officers in Paris last weekend « put us to shame ». . The incident had heightened concerns about alleged systemic racism in the police force.
« Police everywhere, justice nowhere » and « police state » and « smile while you are beaten » were among the slogans as protesters marched from the Place de la Republique to the nearby Place de la Bastille.
« We have long felt ourselves victims of institutionalized racism by the police, » said Mohamed Magassa 35, who works in a reception center for minors.
« The fundamental and fundamental freedoms of our democracy are under attack – freedom of expression and information, » added lawyer Sophie Misiraca, 46.
In the vicinity of the Place de la Bastille, several cars, a newspaper kiosk and a brasserie were set on fire, the police said.
Some protesters threw stones at the security forces, who then fired tear gas and used water cannons, an AFP correspondent said.
Police complained that protesters prevented firefighters from putting out the flames and said nine people had been arrested by early evening.
France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin condemned « unacceptable » violence against the police and said 37 members of the security forces had been injured across the country.
« According to preliminary information, 37 police officers and gendarmes were injured in the demonstrations. I once again condemn the unacceptable violence against the security forces, « wrote Darmanin on Twitter.
Thousands also took part in other marches in around 70 cities in France, including Bordeaux, Lille, Montpellier and Nantes.
An investigation has been opened against the four police officers involved, but commentators say the pictures – which were first posted by the Loopsider news site – may never have been published had the controversial Article 24 of the security law been regulated.
READ MORE « They Shame Us »: Emmanuel Macron condemns images of French police officers beating black men under widespread outrage
The article would criminalize the publication of pictures of police officers on duty in order to impair their « physical or mental integrity ». . It was passed by the National Assembly while awaiting approval from the Senate.
The law and police violence controversy turns into yet another crisis for the government as Mr Macron faces the pandemic, its economic consequences and a host of problems at the international level.
In a sign that the government might prepare to withdraw, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Friday that he would appoint a commission to recast Article 24.
But even on that proposal, he was forced to turn around after Parliament Speaker Richard Ferrand – a close ally of Macron – accused the Prime Minister of attempting to usurp the role of Parliament.
For critics, the legislation is further evidence that Mr Macron, who came to power as a centrist in 2017 and promised liberal reform of France, slipped to the right.
« The police violence brought Emmanuel Macron into a political crisis, » said the daily Le Monde.
The problem has also put pressure on the soaring Mr. Darmanin, who was promoted this summer despite being attacked by a rape probe. Le Monde said tensions between him and the Elysee had grown.
The pictures of the beatings on Mr Zecler were taken days after the police came under fire because a migrant camp in central Paris had been forcibly removed.
A number of high-profile cases against police officers for mistreating black or Arab citizens have raised allegations of institutionalized racism. The force has insisted that violations are the fault of isolated individuals.
Three of the police officers involved in the beating of Mr. Zecler are being investigated for racist violence and all four will be held for questioning after their detention has been extended for an additional 24 hours on Saturday, prosecutors said.
In a letter from AFP, Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement wrote to officers warning them that they might face « anger and fear » in the coming weeks, but insisted that he refer to their « sense of honor and ethics. » « could leave. .
Tens of thousands of French protesters clash with the police over a new security law protecting the officials’ identity.
Iran accuses Israel of murdering a leading nuclear scientist and looking for « chaos ». He promises to respond « in good time ».
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Protest, Emmanuel Macron, France
World News – AU – Tens of thousands of French protesters clash with police over a new security law protecting officials’ identity