MEPs examine controversial text, opponents demonstrate


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The examination of a security bill, which provides in particular for the controversial framework for the dissemination of the image of police and gendarmes, began Tuesday evening in the National Assembly against a background of disputes in the hemicycle as in the street.

The French deputies began, Tuesday, November 17 around 9 p.m., to tackle the proposal for a “global security” law carried by LREM and its ally Agir, and its 1,300 amendments.

At the same time, serious clashes broke out between several hundred people and the police at the end of a rally near the Palais Bourbon despite the confinement. Other gatherings bringing together a total of several thousand demonstrators took place in Lyon, Grenoble, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Marseille and even Rennes.

In the sights of the demonstrators: a law deemed “liberticidal” but intended “to protect those who protect us”, the police, according to the Minister of the Interior Gérard Darmanin. “Let’s read the text without fantasies,” he asked Tuesday night.


“Freedom is receding in our country”, replied the leader of the deputies of La France Insoumise (LFI) Jean-Luc Mélenchon, defending a motion of preliminary rejection which collected 41 votes for and 281 against. Two years to the day after the start of the “yellow vests” movement, Jean-Luc Mélenchon gave himself up to an indictment of the executive’s security orientations, causing turmoil and arrests on the benches of the majority and the right.

LR deputy Eric Ciotti accused the LFI leader of fueling “hatred of far-left thugs” and softly welcomed a text that contains “positive measures”.

For Marine Le Pen, it is “not up to the stakes”.

Initially, the bill was only to be the translation of a parliamentary report devoted to the “security continuum” with new prerogatives for municipal police forces and the structuring of the private security sector.

The deputies will first address these two reputedly more consensual themes, but which will not escape the banderillas of the oppositions, the Communists rejecting en bloc “a withdrawal of the State from its sovereign missions”. Conversely, the Agir group wishes to go further and in particular to generalize the arming of the municipal police.

“No utility”

But it is the last side of the text that will be the most perilous with a series of controversial security measures for which Place Beauvau has held the pen. The most controversial provision is article 24 which provides for penalizing one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for the dissemination of “the image of the face or any other identification element” of a police officer or a gendarme in intervention when the aim is to “undermine his physical or psychological integrity”.

“We can film police officers but it is the distribution of images that is prohibited”

Supported by the police unions, the measure makes jump representatives of journalists and defenders of public freedoms who denounce “a disproportionate attack on freedom of expression”.

“This law is of no use because in French criminal law, there are already several provisions to protect police officers and sanction” those who would like to harm them, assured lawyer Arié Alimi, of the League of Rights of L’Homme, during the Parisian rally.

“Image war”

Faced with criticism, the leader of the LREM deputies Christophe Castaner tried to demine a text “far from caricatures”. “Neither the freedom of the press, nor the right to information, nor the fact of being able to film at any time the internal security forces in intervention are not called into question”, promised the ex-minister of the Interior.

According to one of the co-rapporteurs, Jean-Michel Fauvergue: it is a question of “regaining ground” in the “war of images” that “the authority, the State in particular, is losing”, whereas In the wake of the “yellow vests”, accusations of police violence have multiplied.

The “marchers” will not be able to count on their allies of the Modem who want to remove the provision and display reluctance on the text.

With AFP

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