Tear gas fired as French protesters condemn bill outlawing use of police images

Anti-police brutality protesters in Paris

Thousands of people have gathered across France to protest against a proposed security law that would restrict the sharing of images of police officers.

Officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters in a largely peaceful crowd.

Dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity”.

France Law Protests
Trouble in Paris (Francois Mori/AP)

Civil liberties groups and journalists are concerned that the measure will hinder press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.

In Paris, several thousand people packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom and calling for interior minister Gerald Darmanin’s resignation. Officers fired tear gas as scuffles broke out.

Read on...

The crowd included journalists, students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as a hardening of police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship in 2018.

Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during demonstrations in recent years.

The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.

Michel Zecler
Michel Zecler (Thibault Camus/AP)

President Emmanuel Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us”.

Video that surfaced on Thursday showed the beating, days earlier, of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage on Tuesday of the brutal police evacuation of migrants in a Paris plaza.

The officers involved in the beating of Mr Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.

An internal letter from Paris police chief Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, sense of honour and ethics” when policing the protests, which were authorised by authorities.

Hundreds of officers in body armour, some with truncheons, others with tear gas launchers and a few with rifles, lined the march route and side streets.

France Law Protests
A burning barricade in Paris (Francois Mori/AP)

They erected tall metal gates barricading all main roads leading out of Bastille plaza at the end of the march route.

Through most of the march they hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.

The officers jumped swiftly into action after some objects were apparently thrown at them.

The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets. An Associated Press reporter heard about 10 rounds of tear gas being fired and saw some small rocks and a couple of paving stones being thrown.

Featured image – YouTube – RT

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us