Tear gas is fired when thousands protest in Paris against the security bill

Thousands protested in Paris on Saturday condemning police violence and President Emmanuel Macron’s security plans, which protesters say would undermine civil liberties.

In one incident, police fired tear gas and charged after fireworks were launched on their lines. Young people with a hood smashed a window. There were violent clashes between protesters and police in a similar protest last week.

In a turning point earlier this week, Macron’s ruling party said it would write part of a draft security proposal that would restrict the rights to disseminate images of police officers after provoking a strong backlash among the public and the political left.

The protesters marched through the French capital under the close supervision of riot police and waved banners reading “France, country with police rights” and “Withdrawal of security law”.

“We are moving towards an increasingly significant restriction of freedoms. There is no justification,” said Karine Shebabo in Paris.

Another protester, Xavier Molenat, said: “France has a habit of restricting freedoms while preaching their importance to others.”

The beating of a black man, music producer Michel Zecler, by several police officers in late November intensified public anger. That incident came after closed circuit television and a mobile phone circulated online.

Critics had said that the original bill would make it more difficult to hold police accountable in a country where certain rights groups claim systemic racism within law enforcement agencies. Many opponents of the bill say it goes too far even if it is rewritten.

(REUTERS)