France: Tear gas fired as protesters rally against police security bill

Publishedduration31 minutes agoshareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingmedia captionPolice fired tear gas and protesters threw fireworks during the demonstrations

Protesters are rallying across France against a bill that would make it a criminal offence to film or take photos of police with malevolent intent.

Opponents say it undermines press freedom to document police brutality, but the government says it will protect officers.

In Paris, police used tear gas after protesters threw fireworks at them.

Earlier this week footage emerged of three white policemen racially abusing and beating a black music producer.

The images, which show Michel Zecler being kicked and punched at his Paris studio, have shocked the nation.

media captionMusic producer Michel Zecler is seen being beaten up by officers in his studio

President Emmanuel Macron described the incident as "unacceptable" and "shameful".

He demanded quick proposals from the government aimed at rebuilding trust between police and citizens.

  • Macron 'shame' at police beating of black man

The officers seen in the video have since been suspended and are under investigation.

Separately, the government has ordered police to provide a full report after they violently dismantled a makeshift migrant camp in Paris earlier this week, clashing with migrants and activists.

  • Paris police in 'shocking' clash at migrant camp

What's the latest from Saturday's protests?

Dozens of mass rallies are being staged across France.

image copyrightEPAimage captionIn Paris, crowds gathered at the Place de la République in the heart of the capital

In Paris, thousands of people gathered at the Place de la République in the heart of the capital.

"This bill aims to undermine the freedom of the press, the freedom to inform and be informed, the freedom of expression," protest organisers were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Trade union members were expected to join the rallies, as well as people from the yellow vest movement which has staged anti-government protests in recent years.

Why is the proposed bill controversial?

The bill was backed last week by the lower house of parliament, and is now awaiting senate approval.

Article 24 of the proposed legislation makes it a criminal offence to publish images of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their "physical or psychological integrity".

image copyrightEPAimage captionProtesters in Paris hold slogans that read Journalists under arrest (left) and Smile, you're being filmed

It says offenders could face to up to a year in prison and be fined €45,000 (£40,445; $53,840).

The government argues that the bill does not jeopardise the rights of the media and ordinary citizens to report police abuses – and is only aimed at giving protection to police officers.

But opponents say that without such images, none of the incidents which took place over the past week would have come to light.

In the face of growing public criticism, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday he would appoint a commission to amend Article 24.

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