In force during the state of health, the ban on gatherings was canceled by more than ten people on Saturday by the Cabinet. However, the institution requires that the barrier measures be followed in the event of an incident.
On Saturday, June 13, the Cabinet rescinded the ban on congregations of more than ten people, introduced in connection with the state of health, and restored the freedom to demonstrate in accordance with “barrier measures”.
This decision comes when thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in France against racism and police violence. In Paris, the march, not approved by the prefecture, was blocked at its starting point and tensions erupted, and the crowd booed the police.
Recalling that “the freedom to demonstrate is a fundamental freedom”, the judge in the summary procedure before the Cabinet “believes that the ban on demonstrations is not justified by the current health situation when the” barrier measures “can be respected”.
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The Administrative Judge therefore confirms that a prohibition can only be justified “when these barrier measures cannot be respected or when the event risks bringing together more than 5,000 people”, a number established within the framework of state health emergency.
“It is a great victory. The Cabinet guarantees the freedom to demonstrate,” replied AFP Patrice Spinosi, lawyer for the League for Human Rights (LDH), and jointly requested CGT and Syndicat de la magistrature.
An action that LDH considers late
“There was no reason why the freedom to demonstrate should be treated less well than the freedom of worship. We can only regret that this came so late,” he added, adding that LDH had seized the council by the state in an emergency “two weeks ago”.
For the league, the current regulations “reduced to nothing the basic freedom of demonstration”, which is “one of the most important democratic guarantees”.
She had defended the possibility of demonstrating “in full security” and with respect for barrier gestures, claiming that if the authorities were “able to continue the verbalization of people participating in the demonstrations, (…) they could also proceed to verbalisations if some protesters ignore the barrier gestures “.
Protests previously tolerated
On Tuesday, despite the then-current ban, a few thousand people gathered in Paris in memory of Georges Floyd, this African-American killed by a white Minneapolis police officer. But a few hours before, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner had declared that even if it was banned, this demonstration would be tolerated and did not give rise to “sanctions”. “This is an absurd situation,” condemned Mr. Spinosi.
The Administrative Judge made a point of specifying that “in accordance with the law”, any demonstration on the public road must “be subject to a prior declaration” and may be banned by the police authorities or the prefect, “if they consider it likely to interfere with it. general order, even for health reasons or when local conditions require it “.