‘March of Liberties’ protests turn violent in Paris

Second weekend of demonstrations against police brutality, new global security bill rife with vandalism, police injuies

Demonstrators took to the streets Saturday across France in The March of Liberties, to protest police brutality and a new global security bill making its way through parliament. ”The “StoptheSecurityLaw” motto has taken hold by those protesting. It was the second straight Saturday the country has seen demonstrations against ongoing violence by police and new legislation, one element of which — Article 24 — supports law enforcement by forbidding disseminating images of police taken while on duty.

The bill has been objected to virulently by journalists, media organizations and human rights groups who say it directly violates freedom of speech. An estimated 52,530 people marched in 90 protests throughout France with 5,000 alone in Paris. The march emanated from the Porte des Lilas, the metro stop on the border of the 19th and 20th arrondissements, and wound its way toward the Place de la Republique. Protesters came out in France’s other major cities of Rennes,

Strasbourg, Lille, Marseille, Lyon, Dijon and Nantes. The latter three were marred with violence with several officers seriously injured in Nantes, one by a Molotov cocktail, according to French daily Le Monde. Protests were banned in Bordeaux, Montpellier and Caen with officials there worried about marchers getting out of control.

Members of the Yellow Vest movement as well as the labor unions attended the marches. The first Saturday in December every year marks is a day when trade unions hold a national rally in solidarity with workers who are in a state of precariousness or are unemployed.

In the capital, disorder took place by hooligans who threw small explosives and smoke bombs at police and set fire to at least six cars and a truck on the Avenue Gambetta. Vandalism and the torching of street furniture and makeshift barricades characterized the protest once again as the windows of a supermarket, real estate office and a bank were shattered.

Police responded with teargas and water cannons on the crowd. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin called protesters “very violent individuals” in a Twitter post. Frustration with police conduct has been catalyzed in recent weeks by the brutal beating of music producer Michel Zecler, a 41-year-old Black man who was accosted by three officers Nov. 21 at a studio in Paris. Footage of the 15-minute attack was captured by interior security.

cameras; its subsequent posting a few days later on social media caused an uproar. The three officers were immediately suspended by Darmanin. aturday’s demonstration ended at the Place de la Republique, eventually cleared by police.

By 8 p.m. (1900GMT), the Interior Ministry said 64 people were arrested throughout France, with 21, including two minors, in Paris. Due to the ongoing protestations — by the demonstrations and communication via letters and social media — the new security bill is currently being re-written by parliamentarians.

Source: Anadolu Agency