Violence erupts in Paris protest against security law(+video)

TEHRAN, Dec. 06 (MNA) – Violence erupted in Paris on Saturday for the second consecutive weekend at a mass protest against a new security law, with demonstrators clashing with police, vehicles set alight and shop windows smashed.

The weekly nationwide protests are becoming a major headache for President Emmanuel Macron's government, with tensions intensified by the beating of a black music producer by police last month, France 24 reported.

Members of the Yellow Vests movement, which shook Macron with protests against economic hardship in France over the winter of 2018-2019, were also prominent in the rally.

Windows of a supermarket, property agency and bank were broken while several cars burst into flames along Avenue Gambetta as demonstrators marched towards Place de la République in eastern Paris, AFP reporters said.

Objects were also thrown at police who responded by using tear gas, in a repeat of the violent scenes from the protests last weekend against the security law that would restrict publishing pictures of the faces of the police.

Some demonstrators used objects left into the streets to create impromptu barricades that they then set on fire.

Protesters, some letting off smoke bombs and firecrackers, shouted slogans like "Everyone hates the police."

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter that 22 people had been detained in Paris so far by police, who he said were facing "very violent individuals".

It was one of almost 100 protests planned throughout France on Saturday against the new security law with thousands gathering in cities including Marseille, Montpellier and Nantes, where two police officers were wounded by a Molotov cocktail.

Police had deployed in force to avert trouble after the violent clashes erupted during the demonstration in Paris a week ago that saw dozens wounded.

France has been hit by a wave of street protests after the government introduced a security bill in parliament that set out to increase its surveillance tools and restrict rights on circulating images of police officers in the media and online.

The bill was part of Macron’s drive to get tougher on law and order ahead of elections in 2022. His government also said the police needed to be better protected from online hate.

But the draft legislation provoked a public backlash.

After four French police officers were charged on November 30 over the beating and racial abuse of Black music producer Michel Zecler, legislators from Macron’s party pledged a “complete rewrite” of part of the draft law.

Under a sign demanding the withdrawal of the security law, CGT union leader Philippe Martinez said several causes were coming together.

“There is no contradiction between public and individual freedoms and the need to fight job insecurity and unemployment,” Martinez told AFP.

He referred to the “abuse of employers” and the loss of worker protections.

The new clashes came after Macron gave a hugely-anticipated interview on Friday to Brut, a video-based news portal aimed at young people. Voters aged 18-24 are the age group among which the president is the most popular, according to a survey by Odoxa for Le Figaro and France Info published on Friday.

Macron acknowledged "there are police who are violent" and insisted that "they need to be punished".

He acknowledged that "when you have a skin colour that is not white, you are controlled much more (by police). You are identified as a problem factor. And that cannot be justified."

But he also lashed out at the violence against police at last weekend's rally in Paris, which he blamed on "crazy people".

"I cannot let it be said that we are reducing freedoms in France," he said.


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