In the aftermath of clashes that took place near the Palais Bourbon between law enforcement and opponents of the “comprehensive security” bill, the deputies resumed on Wednesday the examination of this controversial text, including the article on the image of policemen crystallize passions and antagonisms.
After a round of observations on Tuesday evening, where the majority and the government exchanged spades with LFI, standing against the security guidelines of the executive, the deputies attack the new prerogatives of the municipal police.
It is one of the major projects promoted, with private security and measures intended “to protect those who protect us”, the police, for which Place Beauvau held the pen.
For municipal police alone, more than 400 amendments are submitted for discussion, for more than 1,300 on the whole of the text.
On Tuesday evening, only five of them were examined until the cut-off at midnight. This first reading must continue until Friday, before a solemn vote on Tuesday.
The evening was marked by incidents near the National Assembly, where a crowd of demonstrators had gathered to express their opposition to a text deemed “liberticidal”.
Tear gas, water cannons, destroyed street furniture: 33 people were arrested following the clashes which left “ten lightly injured including nine among the internal security forces”, according to the police headquarters.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin blasted “unacceptable violence”: “While representatives of the people were going to legitimately discuss a text of law, there was pressure on the representatives of the Nation not to discuss freely. We are in a democracy, parliamentarians cannot act under pressure “.
LR MP Marc Le Fur on Wednesday denounced a demonstration of “extreme violence”, which disrupted the work of the Assembly. He called for the termination of the duties of Police Prefect Didier Lallement.
Other gatherings bringing together a total of several thousand people took place in large cities such as Lyon, Rennes, Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse and even Grenoble.
– In search of “balance” –
The mistrust of opponents of the LREM bill and its ally Agir focuses on its article 24, by far the most controversial because it plans to frame the image of the police.
Debated probably at the end of the week, it plans to penalize one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for the dissemination of “the image of the face or any other element of identification” of a police officer or a gendarme in intervention, when the aim is to “undermine his physical or mental integrity”.
Supported by the police unions, the measure makes the representatives of journalists and the defenders of public freedoms jump. The Defender of Rights considers that it constitutes “a disproportionate attack on freedom of expression”.
Last week, Gérald Darmanin had pleaded for a hardening of the measure, by wanting to impose the mandatory blurring of the police, an orientation closer to LR than to the positions of “marchers”. Before putting his proposal under the extinguisher and limiting himself to support for the LREM-Agir text of which he says he is “proud”.
Desirous of evacuating “the caricatures”, the majority seems to take a step in the direction of the opponents, including its allies of the Modem who want to suppress this article 24.
The leader of LREM deputies Christophe Castaner drew up on Tuesday an inventory of cases where this measure would not apply, ensuring that “respect for fundamental freedoms is total”.
LREM deputy Roland Lescure, spokesperson for the presidential movement, suggested “perhaps changing the drafting” to recall “freedom of the press”.
“There is an obviously absolute right within the framework of a demonstration to film and to diffuse operations of maintenance of order”, also assured the spokesman of the government, Gabriel Attal, specifying that “without doubt the debates parliamentarians will reconfirm it “.
In an attempt to find a “balance”, the majority has up its sleeve several amendments tabled by Sacha Houlié and other LREM deputies, explicitly guaranteeing freedom of the press.