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  • The Interior Minister reported 26,417 demonstrators in France, including 5,000 in Paris. December 12, 2020.

    The Interior Minister reported 26,417 demonstrators in France, including 5,000 in Paris. December 12, 2020. | Photo: Twitter / @CharlesBaudry

Published 12 December 2020
Opinion

Parisian police used repressive tactics and arrested 142 demonstrators to impede large groups from forming.

French citizens held another day of large-scale protests in Paris against the global security bill, which limits the dissemination of images in which police officers can be personally identified, among other things.

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Parisian police repressed the march, making several arrests, reportedly to prevent the formation of the so-called “black blocks” of protesters.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said that at least 142 people were arrested in the Paris protests as of 8 pm, and reported 26,417 demonstrators in France, including 5,000 in the capital. The official also voiced his support for the police and the actions taken to quell demonstrations.

Indignation throughout France over Article 24 and the Global Security Law increased after three police officers beat up an Black music producer, an incident which was recorded and went viral. The security camera recorded images circulated widely on social media. Police abuses also circulated online following the dismantling of a migrant refugee camp in Place de la République at the end of November.

Although the National Assembly decided that it would make "a complete redraft" of the measure, the protests have continued with civil rights groups saying this will not be enough to guarantee civil liberties.

The protesters, who have been in the streets of Paris and other major cities for three consecutive weekends, claim that the security law undermines basic rights of information and believe that it gives "free rein" to possible abuses of power by the police authority.

Wider issues being brought to recent demonstrations include demands to end repression and police brutality, and authoritarianism by the neoliberal government. Citizens say Macron’s administration is discussing a number of authoritarian laws, while keeping the press on a short leash.

The large-scale protests have been markedly under-reported by the mainstream international media, despite the availability of information from reporters on the ground and the sustained call for and end to police bruality and for fundamental rights to be respected by the French state.

President Emmanuel Macron’s administration has been marred by mass protests, most notably the anti-government Yellow Vest protests which began in 2018 and the many waves of multi-sector protests against austerity and neoliberalism.

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