#MarchesDesLibertes: Massive Protests Erupt in France Over Police Brutality

Elias Hubbard
December 1, 2020

Four police officers were indicted overnight on Sunday on the beating of a black audio manufacturer, the footage of that had been uploaded to the net and has triggered a nationwide scandal.

A statement signed by over 30 groups of families and friends of victims of police abuses said that since 2005, "all security laws adopted have constantly expanded the legal field allowing police impunity".

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters in Paris as clashes erupted after some in the crowd hurled stones and fireworks at police. "Those who ensure the law is applied must respect the law".

Celebrities including football World Cup winners Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann condemned the beating, while French star singer Aya Nakamura said she wished the producer strength, adding "thank you to those who filmed".

Zecler said he was also subjected to racial insults during the attack, according to the BBC.

The policeman "hit him so hard that his hand hurt", the witness said.

The pictures attracted widespread condemnation, coming only days after police were criticized for forcefully evacuating tents out of a migrant demonstration in central Paris.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across France on Saturday to protest against a proposed law that restricts filming of police officers and racial discrimination after a black man was badly beaten by law enforcement in Paris.

The controversy over the law and police violence is developing into another crisis for the government as President Emmanuel Macron confronts the pandemic, its economic fallout and a host of problems on the global stage.

French President Emmanuel Macron's ruling party agreed on Monday to completely rewrite a draft plan that would have curbed the freedom to share images identifying police officers, after large protests over the weekend against police violence.

The prosecutor's office has charged them of intentional violence, Le Parisien newspaper reports.

"Given the evolution of the law and of the modern world, such a bill would really harm the good reputation of this handsome country that is France, which I respect and love so much", said artist Alpha, who also did not give his full name.

"The French police has a structural problem with violence committed against visible minorities", Fabien Jobard, a sociologist, told AFP. "Say no to racism".

According to Castaner, lawmakers will rewrite the measure after the Senate's first reading, which is likely to happen in January.

"What people don't understand is that some individuals are using videos to put the faces of our (police) colleagues on social media so that they are identified, so that they are threatened or to incite hatred", he said.

More than 133,000 people demonstrated across France on Saturday to protest the bill, which protects the faces and identity of police officers from being disseminated with a "malicious intent" online.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said last week an independent committee would revisit the controversial law, but he walked back his comments on Friday under strong pressure from parliament.

Critics says the new security legislation is further evidence of a slide to the right by Macron, who came to power in 2017 as a centrist promising a liberal overhaul of France. But critics and even some supporters accuse him of tilting to the right as he seeks re-election in 2022.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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