Hundreds of people gathered on Tuesday afternoon, November 17, in Paris at the call in particular of journalists’ unions and human rights associations to protest against the proposed “global security” law, which would prevent, according to them journalists and citizens to film the police during the demonstrations.
The rally, organized near the National Assembly, targets article 24 of this bill brought by La République en Marche (LRM) and its ally Agir, the examination of which began on Tuesday.
This controversial article plans to penalize one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for broadcasting “The image of the face or any other identifying element” a police officer or a gendarme in intervention, when the purpose of this is to “Attack on his physical or mental integrity”.
However, the journalists’ unions who called for this rally alongside the League for Human Rights, Amnesty International and other organizations, such as Reporters Without Borders, believe that it amounts to banning journalists and citizens to film the police in action, and would prevent, for example, documenting police violence.
An interpretation of the text strongly rejected by the government and the co-rapporteurs of the text, for whom it is only a question of “Protect those who protect us”.
A “useless and dangerous” bill
“Tomorrow, we will no longer be able to do direct, while the image is there to establish the truth”, denounced Emmanuel Poupard, of the National Union of Journalists (SNJ). For Emmanuel Vire, from the National Union of Journalists of the General Confederation of Labor (SNJ-CGT), “It’s not just a problem for journalists”, and “It is all the right of citizens to demonstrate and express themselves” who is threatened by such measures.
“This bill is useless and dangerous” and “Article 24 calls into question the right to inform and to be informed”, added Hakima Bounemoura, from the Union Syndicale des Journalistes of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT-Journalists). “This law is of no use because, in French criminal law, there are already several provisions to protect the police and to punish” those who would like to harm them, assured Arié Alimi, of the Human Rights League, ensuring that such a law concerned, beyond journalists, “All those who have been victims of police violence”.
#StopLoiSecuriteGlobale We are here to weigh in the debates, we will not let go of this security and free logic… https://t.co/cxBpJcJzvI
“Yellow vests” were also invited to this rally to mark their opposition to this law, while this Tuesday marks the second anniversary of their movement.
Scuffled in the evening
Violent incidents broke out in the evening between several hundred people and the police at the end of the rally near the Assembly, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse. The police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse these demonstrators, among whom were many young people who destroyed street furniture, she said.
At around 9:30 p.m., the last demonstrators had left the area around the Palais-Bourbon and calm had returned, said the Paris Police Prefecture.
This procession of demonstrators aggregating “yellow vests”, activists from left-wing organizations, high school students and students remained blocked by the police for about two hours on Boulevard Saint-Germain, where the tension rose.
“It started to explode on Boulevard Saint-Germain with a wild demonstration starting”, testified a protester, Philippe Bellet, 47 years old. “There were fire starts, we were caught between flames and tear gas. They loaded in line, we managed to leave with our hands in the air. “