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FRANCE’S National Assembly prepared to approve a new law today designed to strengthen police powers just hours after Parisian officers violently dismantled a migrant camp.
Paris police were filmed tossing migrants out of tents while evacuating a makeshift camp in the capital overnight.
Aid groups were working to find temporary lodging for the hundreds of migrants as the parliament discussed the new law to provide police with stronger powers and restrict the way in which images identifying individual officers can be used online, in broadcast and in print.
The “general security” law is the latest of several new government legislation plans supposedly aimed at tackling crime and terrorism introduced by President Emmanuel Macron in recent months.
French journalists and left-wing politicians have criticised the law which could see reporters who breach it face a year in prison and a €45,000 (£40,000) fine.
Demonstrators last week said that the real purpose was to stop the media from examining what they said were frequent incidents of police brutality.
The government has now modified article 24 of the law in response to the criticism, allowing the broadcast of a police officer’s individual identity number.
The law also lays out rules for the use of police drones for filming from the air during protests.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who had rejected criticism of the law, said that “some images of the dismantling of the illegal migrant camp in the Place de la Republique are shocking” and ordered an investigation.
France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Melenchon called for the vote on the legislation to be suspended following the “exceptional savagery” of the police’s dispersing of the migrants.
Police lifted tents with migrants inside, shaking them until they tumbled to the ground, according to Doctors Without Borders France leader Corinne Torre, who witnessed the evacuations.
Migrants who resisted were kicked or beaten with batons, Ms Torre said, adding that several people from her aid group sought treatment for injuries they received while trying to block the police from removing the migrants.
A 34-year-old Afghan migrant told the AFP news agency: “They are too violent. We just want a roof.”
Paris police said that the camp was evacuated because it was illegal and “invited” migrants to seek state-provided lodging elsewhere.
Aid groups and Paris legislators said that they set up the tents to call attention to the plight of hundreds of migrants who were kicked out of another camp in the shadow of France’s national stadium last week and have been sleeping in the streets since then for lack of other options.
The approval of the new law is expected to take place later today.
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