Thousands protest French law restricting rights to film, photograph police

Nov. 28 (UPI) — French police fired tear gas at demonstrators rallying in Paris Saturday to oppose a bill that would make it a criminal offense to film or take photos of police with malevolent intent.

Opponents, who also demonstrated in Bordeaux, Lille, Montpelier, Nantes and other cities, say the bill undermines press freedom to document police brutality.

The government has said the bill is intended to protect officers from online abuse.

Earlier this week three French police officers were suspended after security camera footage surfaced of them beating a Black music producer.

The French interior ministry said about 46,000 people gathered in Paris Saturday and most were peaceful, but small groups clashed with police, with 46 arrests made and more than 20 police injured.

The protests were organized by a collective called “Stop Loi Sécurité Globale” or Stop Global Security Law.

The coalition is composed of journalists’ unions, human rights NGOs and other groups.

The group is calling for the withdrawal of several sections of the proposed law, including one they say organizes mass surveillance.

Saturday’s marches also included more than 100 local elected officials from the Paris region, who announced their participation in the French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Lawmakers say they’ve amended the bill, which was backed last week by the lower house of parliament last week and which goes before the Senate in December, to ensure freedom of the press.

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