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Demonstrators, most wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, march during a protest against a proposed security law in Paris
Demonstrators, some wearing coronavirus masks, protesting Saturday in Paris Image: Christophe Ena/AP Photo/picture alliance

France: Fresh protests over security bill

January 16, 2021

At least 34,000 protesters took to the streets in France to denounce the bill that's awaiting scrutiny in the Senate. Demonstrators have particularly taken issue with the use of drones and pedestrian camera recognition.


A controversial security bill seen by some as a rightward lurch by President Emmanuel Macron drew at least 34,000 protesters across France Saturday. Organizers spoke of closer to 200,000.

Already, his ruling LREM party has said it would rewrite a controversial Article 24 that would that would restrict others filming police and posting such images on social media.

The bill awaits scrutiny next month in the Senate, France's upper chamber, having already been approved by the National Assembly.

'Justice nowhere'

Despite snowfalls, participants in "marches for freedom" carried banners with slogans such as: "Police everywhere, justice nowhere" and "State of emergency, police state."

In Paris, marchers headed toward Bastille Square. In Lille a marcher, identified only as Francois, told news agency AFP: "One asks how far they will go with this law."

Some were angry over the breaking up an illegal New Year's rave in Brittany, describing police actions as "disproportionate."

Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said 75 people were arrested during Saturday's protests, while 12 police and paramilitary personnel were injured.

Following mass protests last year, an umbrella group comprised of Amnesty International, unions, journalists and film directors, had alled Saturday's protest, amplified by November's filming of police beating a black Paris music producer. 

ipj/rs (AFP, dpa)

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