Protests in France spark clashes with police

French police officers who beat black producer charged with willful violence – Reports

French police officers who beat black producer charged with willful violence – Reports

On Saturday, more than 133 000 people, including 46 000 in Paris alone, demonstrated against the draft security bill in marches for freedom of the press and against police violence.

Videos by the public have helped to show a wider audience that there is a "systemic problem with French police forces, who are abusing, punching, beating, mutilating, killing", she said.

French prosecutor Remy Heitz announced Sunday that he is asking that three of the four police officers remain in custody.

Laurent Fabius, a former prime minister who heads the Constitutional Council, said Saturday that the top court would review the law.

Police fire tear gas during a Paris protest against a proposed security law.

Critics feared that the proposed law would have deprived journalists and others of a potent weapon against police misconduct - including videos of police actions - and threaten efforts to document cases of police brutality, particularly in immigrant neighbourhoods.

In a tweet, Darmanin said 98 police officers had been hurt during the protests, adding: 'Those behind the violence will be pursued.' It remains unclear how many protesters were hurt. With thousands more also marching in Lille, Rennes, Strasbourg and other cities.

Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. Gérald Darmanin, France's usually tough-speaking interior minister, also called the videos "shocking". He called on those responsible to be prosecuted.

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He added: "Be the bigger man here, and stop, step in, tell your supporters, don't be violent, don't intimidate". We won't apologize for addressing the obvious issues with the way our state conducts its elections.

The attack on Michel Zecler - which was caught on camera - has become a new rallying cause for critics of the police, who accuse the force of institutionalised racism and brutality.

That charge relates to the police report filed after the incident, which said "a strong smell of cannabis" had emanated from Mr Zecler and that he resisted a search. The incident reportedly began with a dispute over whether the 41-year-old producer was wearing a face mask, as required during the Covid-19 pandemic. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation. After police went outside, a fourth officer threw a tear-gas canister through the window of the studio. They were detained following the release of the video.

President Emmanuel Macron described the incident as "unacceptable" and "shameful", demanding quick government proposals on how to rebuild trust between police and citizens.

The pictures attracted widespread condemnation, coming only days after police were criticized for forcefully evacuating tents out of a migrant demonstration in central Paris.

Commentators said the images of the beating - first published by the Loopsider news site - might never have been made public if the contentious Article 24 of the security legislation had been in force.

The article would criminalize the publication of images of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their "physical or psychological integrity". Violating the law is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $53,000 fine.

It was passed by the National Assembly last week - although it is awaiting Senate approval - provoking protests across France.

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