Thousands of people have responded to the call of journalists’ unions and the opposition to protest against the so-called “global security” law and its controversial article 24 which penalizes the malicious dissemination of the image of the police .
Several thousand people took to the streets on Saturday, November 21 at the call of journalists’ unions in particular against the text penalizing the malicious dissemination of images of the police, adopted the day before by the National Assembly, deemed to be detrimental to “freedom of expression” and “the rule of law”.
The first and the main one of about twenty demonstrations planned in France began at the Trocadéro in Paris in the early afternoon, in the middle of a large police force. On the black square of people, many of them yellow vests, float the flags of the PCF, EELV, FO, NPA, a banner of “Extinction rebellion” and another of Médiapart: “Democracy dies in the darkness”.
The National Assembly voted Friday evening, after having amended it, the most controversial measure of the proposed law “comprehensive security”: article 24 penalizing the malicious dissemination of images of the police, while accompanying it with guarantees on the “right to inform”.
This article, but also the possible use of drones during demonstrations and the fear of facial recognition by surveillance cameras, aroused intense emotion in the media, who saw it as a risk of obstructing the freedom to inform. A protester from the Trocadero, Manuel Furtado, is “outraged”: “We are told that we must limit our freedoms for the good of all but this is going too far”. Protesters were also present in the streets of Toulouse.
During the demonstration against the proposed “comprehensive security” law in Toulouse, a fire broke out on Boulevard Lazare Carnot, near Jean-Jaurès. The firefighters quickly came to control him. pic.twitter.com/B98Qz0ME2c
– La Dépêche 31 (@ ladepeche31) November 21, 2020
In Lille, a thousand demonstrators protested earlier behind signs “Even not drone”, “Orwell was right”, “blurring of gueule”. Another thousand in Rennes, ditto in Montpellier. Among the slogans: “lower your weapons, we will lower our phones”.
A press conference was organized at the same time at the headquarters of the Human Rights League in Paris, in the presence of Amnesty International, representatives of journalists’ unions and an official of a minority police union, the CGT -Interior. “We are worried about the slow decline of the rule of law, which seems to lead to a police state,” said Arie Alimi, member of the national office of the League of Human Rights.
In the Figaro, Sylvain Maillard, LREM deputy for Paris, tried to defuse the anger: the text “is not well understood. Obviously we can continue to film anyone and of course the police . ” Journalists’ unions believe that there is no need for a new law “to scare”, while the Penal Code and the law on press freedom of 1881 already punish incitement to hatred .
“Macron, populist in white collar”
Jean-François Cullafroz, of the CFDT, welcomed the mobilization of the editorial directors of the main media against the controversial article, calling on “our press bosses to take a position” during a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at the ministry of ‘Interior. For Pablo Aiquel of the SNJ-CGT, Emmanuel Macron “is a white-collar populist”. “How are we going to ask Poland and Hungary to respect the rule of law when in France we are doing everything to undermine it?” He asked.
The contested article penalizes one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for the dissemination of “the image of the face or any other element of identification” of the police in intervention when it “undermines” their “physical or mental integrity”. Social media campaigns are in the government’s sights.