Paris witness protest by several thousand people on Saturday against a bill that would make it a crime to circulate an image of a police officer’s face with the intention that they should be harmed. The supporters of Bill said police officers and their families need protection from harassment, both online and in person when off duty. Edwy Plenel, chief editor of the investigative news website Mediapart, said the proposed legislation was “a green light for the worst elements in the police”.
Opponents feel the law would infringe journalists’ freedom to report, and make it harder to hold police accountable for abuses such as excessive use of force which is a growing public concern. The offence would carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a 45,000 euro ($53,000) fine. The Trocadero Square in western Paris, rights activists, trade unionists and journalists chanted “Everybody wants to film the police!” and “Freedom!”, police wearing riot gear stood by around the square watching the show.
Yellow Vest movement jackets were seen wearing by the demonstrators. Yellow vest movement started a wave of anti-government protests two years ago. Similar demonstrations were planned in Marseille, Lille, Montpellier, Rennes, Saint-Etienne and Nice. The reports of clashes were also reported at few places. In the evening a report informed, 23 people had been arrested and a police officer slightly injured due to the clash. The first reading of the bill was passed on Friday and second reading is on Tuesday. It then goes to the Senate for further debate before it can become law. The amendment was made in the article in question, 24, to add the phrase “without prejudice to the right to inform” was approved on Friday.