Violent Protests Erupt In Paris Over Bill Slammed As ‘Ban On Filming Police Brutality’
Protests in Paris against a proposed law that would ban the filming of police have turned violent, with police firing tear gas.
Protestors dressed in all black clashed with police during the latest demonstration in the French capital, launching fireworks, putting up barricades and throwing stones.
The new law would make it illegal for citizens to take pictures of, or film, an on-duty police officer with the intent of harming their ‘physical or psychological integrity’.
On Tuesday, the lower chambers of the French Parliament, called National Assembly, voted in favour of the bill.
It has received widespread backlash from journalists who are concerned that it would affect their right to report on police brutality.
If passed into law, it would make it a crime to circulate images of police officers in certain circumstances, limiting press freedom.
Just last week, footage emerged showing Paris police violently arresting Michel Zecler, a Black music producer who says he was racially abused by officers.
The images, which show the man being kicked and punched at his Paris studio, have shocked the nation.
The country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, called the incident ‘unacceptable and shameful’, and the officers in the video have since been suspended and are under investigation.
The video, which has gone viral in France, has fuelled the size of the protests. In Paris, there were some 46,000 protestors, of which 20 were arrested, according to Reuters.
While the demonstrations were mostly peaceful, they turned violent after groups of protestors smashed shop windows, set two cars, a motorcycle and a café on fire.
Police had fired tear gas and stun grenades in attempt to disperse the crowds. In the early evening, they sprayed a water cannon at protestors in Place de la Bastille.
On Saturday, demonstrations were also being held in Bordeaux, Lille, Montpellier, Nantes and other French cities.
Separately, French police were ordered to produce a full report after it emerged that they had violently dismantled a makeshift migrant camp in Paris earlier this week.
Footage posted online showed police officers forcefully removing migrants from their tents and dragging them away.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted that the scenes were ‘shocking’, and ordered the police to provide a full report on their actions.
The bill will be debated in the Senate, the upper house of parliament, in December.
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