Central bank on fire – Chaotic scenes during protests against police violence
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A law in France aims to limit video recordings of police operations. Then the cases of brutal police violence are again reported. In many cities, people make their displeasure felt. There are also riots.
M.or more than 100,000 people across France protested against a bill to protect police officers. Riots broke out on the sidelines of a demonstration in Paris: a small group of demonstrators threw stones at the police officers, who in turn responded using tear gas. Protest organizers even announced 500,000 attendees across the country. The French Interior Ministry spoke of 133,000 protesters across the country and 46,000 participants in Paris.
There was a fight in Paris. Some then set fire to the facade of the central bank and the police barricades. In the turmoil, firefighters found it difficult to reach the site of the riots.
Paris police said 46 people were arrested and 23 police officers were injured. There were also clashes in the Breton city of Rennes and the police used tear gas.
In the rest of the country, the dozens of demonstrations remained largely peaceful. The protests are directed against a bill that should criminalize the publication of photos or videos of police officers on duty if the intention is to violate their “physical and psychological integrity”.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government believes the law is necessary to protect officials from threats and attacks from violent marginalized groups. Civil rights groups, journalists and victims of police violence fear that the measure could restrict press freedom and cover up brutal actions by the security forces.
Recent cases of police violence in France have made the debate more explosive. Video footage of officials beating up a black music producer in Paris appeared on Thursday. Macron himself was concerned and said the tapes “made us feel ashamed”. And just recently, the images of the brutal evacuation of a migrant camp by the Paris police have attracted enormous criticism.