The French government are preparing to roll out a new “anti-riot” law designed to ban “troublemakers” from participating in protests.
The French National Assembly overwhelmingly approved the law by 387 to 92, despite claims that it will curb the civil liberties of French citizens.
Rt.com reports: The anti-riot law makes it illegal for protesters to hide their faces, gives law enforcement more powers to remove potential “troublemakers” from rallies, and allows the authorities to ban some individuals from even showing up at demonstrations.
That last provision has caused objections from even some members of President Emmanuel Macron’s own party, who called it an attack on the fundamental freedom to protest.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who presented the bill in the parliament, has argued that it was about “stopping the brutes” and showing “zero tolerance for violence.”
Under the new law, those who “participate in disorder” or even find themselves in the vicinity of a violent demonstration on a public road may be punished by a year in prison and a 15,000 euro fine.
The bill will be considered by the Senate on March 12 as the government of President Emmanuel Macron hopes for its swift adoption into law as the country remains gripped by the Yellow Vest protests.
Thousands of people wearing high-visibility jackets have been protesting across France every weekend since November. The rallies, which were ignited by government-proposed fuel tax hikes but quickly morphed into broader discontent with Macron’s policies, frequently got out of control.
The demonstrators in Paris and other cities destroyed property, torched cars, blocked roads and clashed with police. The authorities haven’t hesitated to apply violence to suppress the rioters, putting tear gas, water cannons and non-lethal guns to use and seriously injuring dozens of people.