Returning volunteer Label writer Leah Langley informs us about the protests currently unfolding in the French capital.
On Saturday 28th of November, around 46,000 people lined the streets of Paris in protest of a new security bill that has been backed by the lower house of parliament and is awaiting senate approval. Demonstrations were also seen outside of the French capital in Bordeaux, Lille, Montpellier, Nantes, and many other cities in response to the news of the bill, which if passed would make it a criminal offence to film or take photos of police with “malevolent intent”. Many of those who were present marched peacefully, but French police fired tear gas at those who were rallying after some crowd members threw stones and fireworks at police and cars were set on fire. 46 arrests were made and over 20 police were injured, with the French Interior Minister condemning the attack.
The bill has caused mass frustration throughout the country as it is said to “undermine press freedom to document police brutality”, however the government have argued that it will “help protect officers from online abuse”. They also stated that the rights of the media remain unchanged and that ordinary citizens would still be able to report abuse by the police, and the bill is simply aimed at giving more protection to police officers. Offenders of the legislation could face a 12-month prison sentence and receive fines of up to €45,000 (£40,445). However, the media and opponents retaliated, stating that without these images very few, if any, of the incidents which have taken place would have come to light.
Earlier on in the week, footage emerged of three white policemen beating and racially abusing Black music producer Michel Zecler at his studio. President Emmanuel Macron was quick to brand the incident as “unacceptable” and “shameful”, and demanded that the government create new proposals of how to re-establish the trust between French citizens and the police. The officers who appeared in the video are under investigation and have been suspended, but this isn’t the first incident that has involved the police to recently shock the nation. The government has ordered a full report from the police, as earlier on in the week they were seen violently dismantling a Parisian migrant camp whilst also clashing with present activists and migrants.
Header by Annabel Smith
Edited by Izzie Naish – News Editor