Clashes break out in Paris over bill to limit filming of police

29 Novembre, 2020, 06:08 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • French Cops Suspended After Arrest Video Surfaces

Police in France fired tear gas shells at protesters who were demonstrating against police violence in Paris.

The bill would make it a crime to circulate images of police officers in certain circumstances.

This video grab taken on Thursday from an AFP video shows CCTV camera footage, widely distributed on social networks, shows producer Michel Zecler being beaten up by police officers at the entrance of a music studio in the 17th arrondissement of Paris on November 21.

The death in United States police custody of George Floyd in May and the Black Lives Matter movement have reverberated in France where allegations of brutality against police officers are commonplace, particularly in poor and ethnically diverse urban areas.

An investigation has been opened against the four police involved in the alleged racial attack as critics say that the images would never had been made public if the contentious Article 24 of the security legislation was made law.

In the southern city of Toulouse demonstrators took to the streets on Friday evening brandishing placards with slogans such as "police everywhere, justice nowhere".

The protests in Paris in June focused on unsolved cases of people dying during police operations, such as Adama Traore, who died in police detention near Paris in 2016.

The interior ministry said it had counted 46,000 protesters in Paris.

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The controversial bill, which was approved by the lower house of Parliament this week, still awaits a green light from the Senate.

"We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn't have to film violent policemen", Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press. One video reportedly taken Saturday near the Bastille shows a vehicle that appears to have been lit on fire by protesters.

In a sign that the government was possibly preparing to backtrack, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced late Thursday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24 of the law that would restrict the publication of images of the police.

The bill entails one-year imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros ($54,000) in punishment for the distribution of images of police officers and gendarmes that can potentially lead to their physical and psychological harm.

In Nantes, organisers said there were at least 6,000-7,000 people with 5,000 people in southern Montpellier.

The images of the beating of Zecler emerged days after the police were already under fire over the forcible removal of a migrant camp in central Paris.

In a letter seen by AFP, Paris police chief Didier Lallement wrote to officers to tell them: "In the coming days, the coming weeks. there's no doubt you will face difficulty, doubt, even anger and fear". The force has insisted violations are the fault of isolated individuals.

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