Over 100 arrested as Paris rally against security bill & Islamophobia descends into chaos (VIDEOS)
A packed crowd of people set out from the Place du Châtelet right in the city center, just across the river from the iconic Ile de la Cite, heading towards Place de la Republique in the north east. Hundreds of people joined the march, according to the media. The demonstrators were carrying a large banner that read: “stop freedom-killing laws, stop Islamophobia.”
Le cortège va partir. En tête, une banderole anti lois #separatisme et #securiteglobale : "Stop aux lois liberticides, stop islamophobie." #marchesdeslibertes#paris#GiletsJaunespic.twitter.com/Dwk9slZ4mU— actu Paris (@actufrparis) December 12, 2020
Large police forces were deployed to the area, as previous, similar rallies in the French capital ended up in riots and violent outbreaks. The police made 24 arrests ahead of the protest, the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, confirmed.
Déjà 24 interpellations à Paris et saisies d’outils qui n'ont pas leur place dans une manifestation.Merci aux policiers et gendarmes mobilisés aujourd’hui contre les casseurs. pic.twitter.com/rGyoSSlxcP— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) December 12, 2020
Officers also seized some sharp tools, including screwdrivers and wrenches, from participants who they called “thugs” seeking to infiltrate the protest. Still, tensions quickly rose right after the start of the protest as the police repeatedly sought to disperse the crowd to make arrests and prevent those they called “black-clad rioters” from forming any “groups.”
🔴 La police a attaqué le cortège pour interpeller des manifestants qu'elle suppose être du #blackbloc. Violentes charges sans sommation alors que tout était calme. Plusieurs blessés. #marchesdeslibertes#parispic.twitter.com/uMq3gUbueX— actu Paris (@actufrparis) December 12, 2020
Videos posted on social media show that such heated exchanges led to standoffs and even violent clashes between law enforcement and demonstrators on several occasions. At some point, protesters also set a scooter on fire and left it in the middle of a street.
🔴 Les violentes charges de la #police n'ont pas d'intérêt stratégique : les manifestants sont attaqués sur les flancs, pas de gain de territoire ni d'interpellations. Seule conséquence : énerver des manifestants déjà en colère contre la police. #marchesdeslibertes#parispic.twitter.com/LeAakGIvDl— actu Paris (@actufrparis) December 12, 2020
Respect aux manifestants pour les sans-papiers qui tentent de faire progresser le cortège sur le boulevard Sebastopol malgré les tensions qui touchent le rassemblement contre la #LoiSecuriteGlobale à #Parispic.twitter.com/IehazlSSKn— Thibault Izoret (@TIM_7375) December 12, 2020
The officers were seen beating some demonstrators with batons. One activist beating a drum was seen visibly injured in the head in one such incident.
Les attaques des forces de l'ordre ont fixé des manifestants face à eux. Certains hurlent leur colère contre ces charges. La stratégie ultra offensive de la #police énerve les manifestants pacifiques. #marchesdeslibertes#parispic.twitter.com/5R8CytI3ss— actu Paris (@actufrparis) December 12, 2020
More clashes between police and protesters in Paris over government security policies. Fourth straight Saturday of protest violence. #Paris#StopLoiSécuritéGlobale#SecuriteGlobalepic.twitter.com/qQogJhtkCq— Intelfeedia (@intelfeedia) December 12, 2020
Closer to the destination, police had to use tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowd. The protesters occupied Place de la Republique and were burning flares and smoke pellets and refusing to leave.
Fumigène noir face aux gendarmes. Projectiles. Tensions angle Temple République. Pas de heurts pour le moment. #marchesdeslibertes#paris#GiletsJaunes#separatisme#StopLoiSecuriteGlobalepic.twitter.com/6gH0HoEskG— actu Paris (@actufrparis) December 12, 2020
By the end of the march, the police had arrested 81 people, Darmanin said, thanking police officers for confronting some “ultra-violent” individuals. The French media reported, citing Interior Ministry sources, that the number of arrests in Paris had surpassed 100.
Paris was not the only city to witness demonstrations on Saturday; rallies were organized in most of France’s large cities, including Lille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Toulouse and Strasbourg. However, most of these were peaceful and passed off without any incidents.
France has seen a wave of protests after President Emmanuel Macron’s government introduced a draft bill that would provide law enforcement with additional surveillance tools. The bill’s controversial Article 24, in particular, sparked public anger: it seeks to protect police officers from doxing and harassment, and bans the filming of on-duty cops and sharing their images online with the “intent to harm.”
The government vowed to “rewrite” the controversial article but the protesters still believe that is not enough.Also on rt.com Tear gas & burning cars: 22 arrested following clashes between protesters & police in Paris (VIDEOS)
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