French government drops draft law curbing filming of police officers - International

French government drops draft law curbing filming of police officers - International”

This picture taken on November 27, 2020, shows a police station in the 12th district of Paris also housing a branch of France's National Police General Inspectorate.

European Union spokesman Christian Wigand said "The commission does not comment on draft laws, but it goes without saying that in a period of crisis it is more important than ever that journalists must be able to do their jobs freely and in complete safety". All raised alarm over the new Bill, saying it could curb press freedom and limit police accountability.

The government says the provision is meant to protect officers from doxxing and online abuse, but critics say it is further evidence of the Macron administration's slide to the right.

The controversial measure, mainly Article 24 of the national security law, criminalizes the dissemination of images of police officers carrying out their duty if it is done with malign intent.

The French interior ministry said 46,000 people took part in the protest in Paris, but some reports suggest the crowd was as big as 200,000 in the capital and that 500,000 people have protested nationwide.

"I am therefore in favour of deleting Article 24", he told the Le Parisien newspaper.

Assbague expressed fears that, under the proposed law, those who post videos of police abuses online may be put on trial, where they would face up to a year in jail and a 45,000-euro ($53,000) fine.

Opponents demanded to know how the government meant to do so, given that the clause had already been approved by the National Assembly, though it still requires approval from the Senate. Three were also charged with fabricating their statements on the incident.

On Sunday, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz called for three of the officers to be also charged with racial abuse.

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At the weekend, prosecutors said the officers had admitted that their violence against Mr Zecler was unjustified but said they acted out of panic after he resisted them in the cramped surroundings of the studio entrance.

The officers have denied racially abusing Zecler throughout the assault, which started with a row cover if Zecler was wearing a mask, as required by French legislation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But only a tiny quantity of the substance was found.

"We have felt for a long time to have been the victim of institutionalized racism from the police", said Mohamed Magassa 35, who works in a reception center for minors.

In a string of tweets, French President Emmanuel Macron said the government was exploring proposals "to reaffirm the link of confidence that should naturally exist between the French and those who protect them".

Among those hurt was an award-winning Syrian photojournalist, Ameer al-Halbi, 24, seen with a bruised face and much of his head covered in bandages in AFP photos.

"We are shocked by the injuries suffered by our colleague Ameer al-Halbi and condemn the unprovoked violence", said Phil Chetwynd, AFP's global news director.

Al-Halbi was unable to get to hospital for several hours, and said he was reminded of being in the Syrian civil war in his hometown.

"I never expected Paris to be a place where I would see blood all over the streets", he told AFP.

"I don't have a fetish for numbers ... but I do have a fetish for protecting police and gendarmes", Darmanin said Monday before a parliamentary commission.

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