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Police attack huge Paris protests against security law

Rallies take place across France over crackdown on documenting police brutality

POLICE fired tear gas at vast protests by tens of thousands in Paris against President Emmanuel Macron’s new Global Security Law yesterday.

The law, which slaps fines of €45,000 (£40,000) and prison sentences on people who publish images of police officers’ faces with the “intent” to cause distress, was voted through the National Assembly last week — even as images of police battering refugees as they cleared a tent camp and beating up a black musician while yelling racist abuse at him shocked France.

An estimated 50,000 rallied in the Place de la Republique — where the migrant tent camp was attacked — with trade union banners and French flags, as well as placards demanding Mr Macron’s resignation or that of his Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

Assa Traore, a champion of France’s Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement whose brother Adama was killed in police custody in 2016, said: “If there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen.”

She was joined at the unusually broad rally by the editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, who said the law “limits the capacity of citizens and journalists to document police violence.” 

French Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel said the party demanded the total repeal of the law, arguing “there are no ‘black sheep’ in the police, this is a fundamental problem.”

Following the police murder of George Floyd in the US, France’s BLM movement has highlighted the often racist violence of the French police — while their brutality in suppressing trade union demonstrations against railway privatisation last year and the Yellow Vests uprising the winter before that have also provoked anger. 

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