Pressure is growing on President Emmanuel Macron’s government to abandon a provision in a draft bill curtailing the ability to publish photos or video of police, after big protests across France on Saturday.
Demonstrators came out en masse in cities from Paris to Lyon, despite a month-old Covid-19 lockdown, in opposition to the government’s “general security” law that they said impinged on press freedom.
The minister of the interior estimated crowds of 133,000 nationally, while organisers claimed 500,000. In Paris, there were 46,000 demonstrators, according to officials.
The protests rivalled the size of the gilets jaunes movement’s early protests in 2018. While largely peaceful, small groups burnt cars, destroyed property and threw stones at the police. About 46 people were arrested in Paris, according to officials, and 37 police officers were injured.
At issue is Article 24 of the security law, which will make it a crime punishable by a year in prison and a €45,000 fine to “publish, by any means and in any medium, the face or any other identifying feature other than their official identity number” of a police officer or gendarme “with the manifest aim of causing them physical or psychological harm”.
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