Nov 29, 2020 - World

Clashes in Paris as tens of thousands protest France security bill

Demonstrators rally on Place de la Bastille in Paris on November 28
Demonstrators in Paris protest on Saturday France's "global security" draft law. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

A massive protest in Paris against a security bill descended into clashes between police and demonstrators Saturday, as tens of thousands of people rallied across France against the measure, per AFP.

Why it matters: The bill, if signed into law, would bolster government surveillance and restrict the sharing of images of police officers, which critics say would erode civil liberties including the freedom to report on police brutality.

  • They say video that emerged this week of police beating a Black music producer during an arrest in Paris — which French President Emmanuel Macron denounced on Friday as "unacceptable" — may never have been reported on if the law were passed, AFP notes.
  • The law would criminalize the publication or broadcasting of images of police if the intent is to "physically or mentally harm" them.

The big picture: The protests in Paris, like elsewhere in France, were mostly peaceful. But small factions of demonstrators in the capital hurled stones and fireworks at police, according to Reuters. Officers used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon on the protesters.

Of note: France's lower house of Parliament this week passed the security bill, which will now go to the Senate.

  • Some lawmakers have indicated the bill may be revised, per Le Figaro.
  • Prime Minister Jean Castex said Friday he would launch an independent commission "to help redraft the disputed provision on the broadcasting of images of police officers," the New York Times reports.
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