Paris: Protests continue against security bill in France
The French President was labelled the “president of disorder” by National Rally leader Marine Le Pen after violence erupted on the streets of Paris, with clashes between police and furious protestors. Dozens of hooded protesters launched projectiles at riot police, smashed up shop windows, torched cars and burned barricades during a demonstration in the French capital on Saturday against police violence.
The police fired back tear gas as protestors took to the streets to denounce police brutality and Mr Macron’s security policy plans which the demonstrators say would restrict civil liberties.
Speaking on French news channel LCI, nationalist Ms Le Pen said the role of the president was to “ensure the safety” of members of the public but Mr Macron was “incapable” of doing so.
She described the current situation in France, marred by a wave of street protests, as “unbearable”.
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Ms Le Pen said: ”The French have the feeling, rightly, that Emmanuel Macron is the president of the disorder. This is unbearable.
“The role of the president is to ensure the safety of our compatriots, but he seems totally incapable.
“This has happened in the last five years. The government knows who these violent people are, they know their names, their addresses, their families, and yet they let them come and do what they want.”
Ms Le Pen said following Mr Macron’s 2017 presidential election there has been “permanent violence” in France and “no order”.
She added: “The government knows these 300 or 400 activists who come to Paris each time to assault the police in an increasingly violent way.
“The French have the feeling, rightly, that Emmanuel Macron is the president of the disorder. After his arrival, there has been no order. There is permanent violence.
“All this becomes unbearable. I want people to remember that the role of the president is to ensure the safety of our compatriots, but he seems totally incapable.”
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Thousands of people had begun marching peacefully in Paris on Saturday when the clashes erupted between police and pockets of protesters, mostly dressed in black and with their faces covered.
Some used hammers to break up paving stones.
They waved banners that read “France, land of police rights” and “Withdrawal of the security law”.
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 Mr 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 has provoked a furious public backlash.
The beating of a black man and music producer Michel Zecler, by several police officers in late November intensified anger when it came to light after closed-circuit television and mobile phone footage circulated online.
In a U-turn earlier this week, Mr Macron’s ruling party said it would rewrite the article that curbs rights to circulate images of police officers.
But critics have said this is not enough.
Paris resident Karine Shebabo said: ”We’re heading towards an increasingly significant limitation of freedoms. There is no justification.”
Another protester, Xavier Molenat, added: “France has this habit of curbing freedoms while preaching their importance to others.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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