Protests In France Against Curbs On Social Media, Press

Thousands of people in France’s capital on Saturday protested against a new law that would criminalise the circulation of images of a police officer’s face.

Protesters gathered on the Esplanade of Human Rights at the Trocadero, chanting “Liberty!” and carrying placards saying, “No to the police state,” Euro News reported.

People are protesting across France, including Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, and Marseille, against the new security bill, which would make it a crime for anyone journalists and civilians alike to share images of police officers unless their faces had been blurred.

Under this draft law, publishing an image on social media of an on-duty police officer “with the aim of harming their physical or psychological integrity” will be punishable with up to a year in prison and a maximum of 45,000-euro ( USD 53,360) fine.

“If such a law were to enter into force as it stands, it would constitute a serious violation of the right to information, to respect for private life, and to freedom of peaceful assembly, three conditions which are nevertheless essential to the right to freedom of expression,” Euro News quoted Amnesty France’s statement.

“This could contribute to a culture of impunity which ultimately damages the image of the police and contributes to undermining the necessary bond of trust between the police and the population,” he added.

The French parliament rejected a similar proposal earlier this year.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Article 24 was necessary to “protect those who protect us” after reports that police officers are being increasingly targeted and threatened.

Last month, a police station in Champigny-sur-Marne, in Paris’ south-eastern suburbs, was stormed by a mob armed with fireworks and metal bars.

The scrutiny of French police, including its use of excessive force, has been intensifying after a series of incidents were captured on video and shared to social media platforms. One such incident was the death of Paris delivery driver, Cedric Chouviat, a 42-year-old father of five, in January, Euro News further reported.

The bill passed its first reading on Friday, there will be a second reading on Tuesday. (ANI)

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