In a dispute magnified by the beating and racist attacks of a black man by police officers that stunned the nation, thousands marched in the streets across France on Saturday demanding that the government abandon a controversial new security law.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the protests against the safety law, which would limit the rights of the media to broadcast images of the faces of police officers, took place nationally with the central Place de la Republique in Paris packed.
Late Friday, President Emmanuel Macron stated that the pictures of last weekend’s battering of black music producer Michel Zecler in Paris “disappointed us.” The incident increased concerns about the police force’s alleged systemic racism.
Among the taglines brandished as protesters marched from Place de la Republique to the neighboring Place de la Bastille were “Police everywhere, justice nowhere and “police state” and “smile while you are beaten.”
“We have felt for years to have been the victims of institutionalized police racism,” said Mohamed Magassa, 35, who operates in a reception center for minors.
”But we feel now that this week, all of France has woken up” he indicated
Sophie Misiraca, 46, a lawyer, added, “The fundamental and basic freedoms of our democracy are being attacked: freedom of expression and information.”
In Paris, there were conflicts as a car was overruled and a barricade was set up in one area, with black smoke billowing from a fire into the air. Several demonstrators threw stones at the security forces, said an AFP journalist.
‘Crisis of politics’
Other demonstrations in France, as well as in Bordeaux, Lille, Montpellier and Nantes, were also participated by thousands.
A 22-year-old sociology student who took part in the Montpellier demonstration, said, I’m only preparing for to to be abolished.
An inquiry was initiated against the four cops involved, but talking heads say that if the controversial Article 24 of the security legislation was made law, the images, first posted by the Loopsider media site, would have never been publicly disclosed.
In order to harm their ‘physical or psychological dignity,’ the article would outlaw the publishing of pictures of law enforcement officers on duty . The National Assembly passed it, although it is pending confirmation by the Senate.
As Macron encounters the pandemic, its economic fallout and a multitude of international issues, the uproar over the law and police brutality is growing further into a catastrophe for the government.
On friday, Prime Minister Jean Castex declared that the government might be preparing in a sign to backtrack, that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24.
Also on this proposed plan, however he was compelled into a U-turn after parliament speaker Richard Ferrand, a close Macron supporter, suspected the premier of attempting to overthrow parliament’s position.
The government claims that the policy is intended to protect officers from cyber bullying, and police officials have been strongly campaigning for it.
For naysayers, Macron, who took office in 2017 as a centrist-promising liberal reform of France, is again proof of a slide to the right.
“Police brutality has left Emmanuel Macron confronted with a political turmoil,” the daily Le Monde stated.
‘Outrage and fright’
Macron’s high-flying appropriate interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, who was encouraged to work this summer amidst being attacked by a sexual assault investigation, was also constrained by the matter, with Le Monde stating that conflicts between him and the Elysee were escalating.
Days after the police have been under crash over the unlawful abolishment of a refugee camp in central Paris, the images of Zecler’s hammering surfaced.
False claims of racial discrimination have been brought up in a set of large cases against policemen over the abuse of black or Arab citizens. The force has continued to insist that violations are the mistake of individuals who are segregated.
Investigation are being carried out towards the police that participated in the beating of Zecler using racial violence and all four are being detained for interrogation after their arrest was prolonged for a further 24 hours on Saturday, prosecutors stated.
Paris police chief Didier Lallement decided to write to officers in a letter seen by AFP, cautioning them that in the following weeks they risked experiencing “negative emotions,” but kept insisting that he could rely on their “sense of integrity and morality.”